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UNIVERSITY  OF  ILLINOIS 
LIBRARY 


MEMORIAL 

the  Class  of  1901 

founded  by 

HARLAN  HOYT  HORNER 

and 

HENRIETTA  CALHOUN  HORNER 


THE    TRUE    STORY    OF 

MARY,   WIFE   OF  LINCOLN 


Digitized  by  the  Internet  Archive 

in  2012  with  funding  from 

University  of  Illinois  Urbana-Champaign 


http://archive.org/details/truestoryofmarywOOhelm 


THE    TRUE    STORY    OF 

MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

Containing  the  Recollections  of  Mary  Lincoln's 

Sister  Emilie  {Mrs.  Ben  Hardin  Helm),  Extracts 

from  Her  War-Time  Diary,  Numerous  Letters 

and  Other  Documents  now  First  'Published 


By  Her  Niecej  Katherine  Helm 


"Lady  of  Lincoln, 
They  wreathed  her  head 
With  thorns  when  living, 
With  nettles  though  dead." 

Marion  Mills  Miller 


WITH     MANY     ILLUSTRATIONS 

NEW  YORK  AND  LONDON 

HARPER   &  BROTHERS  PUBLISHERS 

Mcmxxviii 


MARY,   WIFE  OF   LINCOLN 

COPYRIGHT,   1918,   BY   KATHERINE  HELM 

PRINTED  IN  THE  U.   S.   A 

L-C 


.71 


TO 

MRS.    ROBERT   TODD   LINCOLN 

WHO  LOVED 

Mary  Todd  Lincoln 

THIS   BOOK  IS 

AFFECTIONATELY   DEDICATED 


*qp 


*c/3* 


CONTENTS 

CHAPTER  PAGE 

I  A  VIVID  LITTLE  PERSON  I 

II  ROOT  AND   BRANCH  6 

III  A  BLUE  GRASS  LASSIE  1 6 

IV  ILLINOIS  BECKONS  58 

V  A    KENTUCKY   GIANT  7 1 

VI  PARTNERS  96 

VII  WASHINGTON  LOOMS  131 

VIII  INTO  THE  MISTS  151 

IX  SHADOWS  193 

X  "SEND  HER  TO  ME"  219 

XI  THE  DEATH  BLOW  234 

XII  WAITING  264 
INDEX  301 


ILLUSTRATIONS 


Mary  Todd  Lincoln 

Coat  of  Arms  of  the  Todd  Family 

"Ashland" 

"Helm  Place" 

"Ellersly" 

Mary  Todd's  Birthplace 

Robert  Smith  Todd,  Mary  Todd's  Father 

Mrs.  Robert  S.  Todd 

Mrs.  Alexander  Humphreys 

Facsimile  of  Letters  to  Her  Sister 

Seal  Owned  by  Mrs.  Alexander  Humphreys 

Home  of  Robert  S.  Todd 

Mrs.  Ninian  Edwards 

Hon.  John  Todd  Stuart 

Mrs.  John  Todd  Stuart 

Mary  Todd  at  the  Time  Lincoln  Met  Her 

Abraham  Lincoln,  About  1887-8 

Judge  David  Todd 

Roger  North  Todd 

The  Lincoln  Home  in  Springfield,  Illinois 

Ben  Hardin  Helm 

Mary  Todd's  Sister  Elodie 

Thomas  Lincoln  (Tad) 

Robert  Todd  Lincoln 

William  Wallace  Lincoln 

Mary  Todd  Lincoln — 1860 

David  Todd 

Mrs.  Charles  Kellogg 

Alexander  H.  Todd 

Mrs.  Ben  Hardin  Helm 


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MARY 


WIFE    OF    LINCOLN 


Coat  of  Arms  of  the 
Todd  Family 


The    True    Story   of 
MARY,  WIFE  OF   LINCOLN 

CHAPTER   I 

A  VIVID  LITTLE  PERSON 

A  SMALL  white  pony  galloped  down  the  shady- 
street,  on  his  back  a  slender  thirteen-year-old  girl. 
Through  the  town  and  out  along  the  dusty  highway 
leading  to  "Ashland,"  they  raced,  the  child's  short,  clus- 
tering light  brown  curls  blown  back  by  the  swift  move- 
ment of  the  pony  shining  gold  and  bronze  in  the 
brilliant  sunlight.  The  strings  of  her  ruffled  white 
sunbonnet  were  tied  loosely  under  her  chin — a  very  de- 
termined little  chin — and  the  sunbonnet,  pushed  back 
from  her  vivid  rosy  face,  hung  flapping  down  her  back. 
About  a  mile  from  the  town  of  Lexington  she  brought 
her  pony  to  an  abrupt  halt  before  the  handsome  home 
of  Mr.  Henry  Clay,  and  to  the  servant  who  appeared 
she  requested  an  immediate  audience  with  the  great 
statesman. 

"But,"  expostulated  the  old  butler,  "Mr.  Clay  is  en- 
tertaining five  or  six  fine  gentlemens." 


2  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

Still  the  child  persisted;  so  the  old  servant  disap- 
peared, soon  returning  to  say  that  Mr.  Clay  begged  to 
be  excused,  for  he  was  entertaining  distinguished  stran- 
gers. It  was  then  the  child  threw  back  her  head,  im- 
periously announcing:  "I  can't  help  that.  IVe  come  all 
the  way  out  to  Ashland  to  show  Mr.  Clay  my  new  pony. 
You  go  right  back  and  tell  him  that  Mary  Todd  would 
like  him  to  step  out  here  for  a  moment." 

Mr.  Clay,  tall,  suave,  polished  in  mind  and  manner, 
came  out  on  the  graveled  driveway  to  greet  his  imperi- 
ous little  friend,  the  entire  company  trooping  after. 
"Look,  Mr.  Clay,"  she  began,  "my  new  pony.  Father 
bought  him  from  those  strolling  players  that  were 
stranded  here  last  week.  He  can  dance — look!"  The 
proud  little  owner  touched  the  pony  with  a  whip  and 
up  he  went  gracefully  on  his  hind  legs.  The  strangers 
laughed  as  Mary  exclaimed,  "Mr.  Clay,  my  father  says 
you  are  the  best  judge  of  horse-flesh  in  Fayette  County. 
What  do  you  think  about  this  pony?"  "He  seems  as 
spirited  as  his  present  diminutive  jockey.  I  am  sure 
nothing  in  the  state  can  outdistance  him,"  answered  the 
courteous  Mr.  Clay.  Then  lifting  Mary  off  the  pony, 
"You  are  just  in  time  for  dinner."  "Yes,  and  just  in 
time,"  said  Mrs.  Clay,  appearing  at  that  moment,  "to 
take  a  message  to  your  mother.    I  was  just  about  to  send 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  3 

her  a  letter  from  her  uncle  Mr.  James  Brown,  but  now 
you  may  take  it  to  her  after  dinner." 

Mary,  not  at  all  abashed  at  rushing  into  dinner  with- 
out a  previous  invitation,  resigned  her  beloved  pony  to 
a  negro  boy,  and,  holding  tightly  to  Mr.  Clay's  hand, 
went  into  the  dining  room  where,  seated  by  her  hero, 
she  was  blissfully  happy  listening  with  absorbed  inter- 
est to  the  political  discussion  which  animated  the  voices 
and  faces  of  the  diners. 

During  a  lull  she  exclaimed,  suddenly,  "Mr.  Clay, 
my  father  says  you  will  be  the  next  President  of  the 
United  States.  I  wish  I  could  go  to  Washington  and 
live  in  the  White  House,"  she  added  wistfully.  "I 
begged  my  father  to  be  President  but  he  only  laughed 
and  said  he  would  rather  see  you  there  than  to  be  Pres- 
ident himself.  He  must  like  you  more  than  he  does 
himself.  My  father  is  a  very,  very  peculiar  man,  Mr. 
Clay.  I  don't  think  he  really  wants  to  be  President," 
said  Mary,  a  note  of  disapproval  in  her  voice.  "Well," 
laughed  Mr.  Clay,  "if  I  am  ever  President  I  shall  ex- 
pect Mary  Todd  to  be  one  of  my  first  guests.  Will  you 
come?" 

Mary  accepted  with  enthusiasm. 

"If  you  were  not  already  married,"  she  said,  gra- 
ciously, "I  would  wait  for  you." 


4  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

Mary  felt  this  time  that  the  burst  of  laughter  must  be 
at  her  expense. 

"So  I  must  go  now,"  she  said  slipping  from  her  chair. 
"Poor  mother  is  sick  in  bed,  Father  is  in  Frankfort. 
Mammy  told  me  I  might  ride  the  pony  for  a  little 
while  in  front  of  our  house.  I've  been  gone  a  long 
time.  Mammy  will  be  wild!  When  I  put  salt  in  her 
coffee  this  morning  she  called  me  a  limb  of  Satan  and 
said  I  was  loping  down  the  broad  road  leading  to  de- 


struction." 


Mary  dimpled  into  a  little  one-sided  smile.  "But 
Mammy  is  a  good  old  soul  and  promised  to  let  me  hold 
Baby  Sam  for  ten  or  fifteen  minutes  if  I  didn't  squirm 
too  much.  You  have  seen  our  new  baby,  Mrs.  Clay? 
Don't  you  think  he  is  too  soft  to  be  very  healthy?  I 
can't  help  but  think  he  needs  more  starch.  Teeny- 
weeny  Margaret  is  all  right,  but  Sam  is  flimsy." 

Then  dropping  a  demure  little  curtsy  to  Mr.  and 
Mrs.  Clay,  she  drawled  in  inimitable  mimicry  of  a 
well-known  society  belle  of  the  day:  "Thank  you  so 
much  for  your  charming  hospitality;  I've  had  a  most 
delightful  time." 

And  with  a  mischievous  glance  at  Mr.  Clay,  who 
had  recognized  the  original  of  her  caricature  and  was 
laughing  heartily,  Mary  was  gone  like  a  flash. 

Perhaps  a  psychoanalyst  might  discover  in  this  ad- 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  5 

venture  of  Mary's  the  seed  of  ambition  planted  in  her 
subconscious  mind  to  grow  into  a  wish  to  be  mistress  in 
the  White  House,  at  any  rate  she  is  often  quoted  as 
having  said  that  she  would  marry  a  President  of  the 
United  States. 

And  little  Mary  Todd,  the  future  wife  of  Abraham 
Lincoln,  rode  home  on  her  new  pony. 


CHAPTER  II 

ROOT  AND  BRANCH 

npOD>  in  the  north  of  England  and  Scotland,  is 
•*-  "fox."  It  is  surmised  that  the  first  man  to  whom 
the  surname  Todd  was  given  was  a  keen  sportsman 
who  followed  the  hounds  in  the  hue  and  cry  of  chasing 
a  tod — was  a  tod  hunter.  Indeed,  Toddhunter  was  an- 
other surname  assumed  by,  or  given  to,  one  of  these 
Nimrods — an  amusing  story  told  of  a  market  gardener 
of  Middlesex  might  indicate  that  the  name  had  some- 
thing to  do  with  the  sly  wit  of  a  fox.  The  gardener 
being  haled  before  a  magistrate  for  not  having  painted 
on  his  cart,  his  name,  his  place  of  residence,  and  the 
words,  "taxed  cart,"  declared  he  had  complied  with 
the  law  in  every  particular  and  invited  the  Court  to 
inspect  his  cart  upon  which  was  painted: 

"A  most  Odd  Act  on  a  taxed  Cart" 

This  did  not  mollify  the  Court  until  it  was  explained 
to  him  that  it  could  be  interpreted: 

"Amos  Todd.  Acton.  A  taxed  Cart." 

Among  the  Todds  whose  names  are  well  known  are : 
James  Henthorn  Todd,  one  of  the  best  known  Irish 
scholars  of  his  day  (born  1805)  ;  he  was  consulted  by 

6 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  7 

both  statesmen  and  theologians.  Henry  John  Todd 
edited  Johnson's  Dictionary  to  which  he  added  several 
thousand  words.  He  was  also  editor  of  Milton.  Rob- 
ert Bentley  Todd  was  a  physician  of  great  renown  in 
the  early  part  of  the  nineteenth  century.  His  statue 
may  be  seen  at  King's  College  Hospital.  David  Todd, 
with  a  world-wide  reputation  as  an  astronomer. 

The  "Mary"  of  Coleridge's  verse  was  Mary  Evans 
Todd,  the  mother  of  Elliott  D'Arcy  Todd  of  York- 
shire, the  stronghold  of  the  Todds  for  centuries.  In 
the  west  riding  of  Yorkshire  the  town  of  Todmorden, 
dating  back  prior  to  the  reign  of  Edward  III,  may  have 
some  connection  with  the  family  of  that  name.  Among 
the  Pilgrim  Fathers  from  Yorkshire  was  Christopher 
Todd.  He  was  the  son  of  William  Todd,  who  was  the 
son  of  William  Todd.  He,  with  his  wife  Grace  and 
several  children,  came  over  about  1639.  He  was  an 
important  personage  in  New  Haven,  of  which  he  was 
one  of  the  founders.  Yale  College  now  stands  on  the 
site  of  his  home,  and  the  college  campus  was  part  of 
Christopher's  estate.  Many  of  his  descendants  live  in 
New  Haven.  He  bore  for  arms  three  foxes'  heads — 
showing  the  origin  of  the  name. 

John  Todd  also  came  from  Yorkshire.  He  and  his 
wife  Susannah  and  their  six  children  settled  in  Rowley, 
Massachusetts,   1637.     He  was  representative  to  the 


8  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

General  Court  for  many  years.  He  bore  for  arms  a  fox 
rampant  with  a  dove  for  crest,  and  the  motto:  "By 
cunning.    Not  by  Craft." 

Adam  Todd  was  born  in  the  Highlands  of  Scotland. 
He  made  New  York  his  home,  and  died  in  1765.  His 
wife  Sarah  was  one  of  the  "Women  of  the  Revolution." 
Her  house  on  Cliff  Street  in  the  city  of  New  York  was 
called  "rebel  headquarters"  by  the  British,  who  said 

of  her  daughters,  "They  are  the  d rebels  in  New 

York."  Some  British  soldiers  in  her  house  were  drink- 
ing and  asked  her  for  a  toast.  "Why,  we  eat  toast," 
she  replied  with  so  much  simplicity  that  they  supposed 
her  ignorant  of  the  meaning  of  the  word.  Mrs.  Todd's 
grave  is  in  St.  Paul's  churchyard,  New  York  City.  Her 
daughter  Sarah  married  a  Brevoort,  one  of  the  family 
whose  name  is  perpetuated  in  many  ways  in  the  me- 
tropolis that  family  helped  to  build.  Adam  Todd,  sec- 
ond, married  Margaret  Dodge,  daughter  of  Jeremiah 
and  Margaret  Vanderbilt  Dodge.  The  wife  of  John 
Jacob  Astor,  colonist,  was  Sarah  Todd.  They  were 
married  about  the  year  1785.  Their  son  William  mar- 
ried Margaret  Armstrong.  Vincent  Astor  is  the  fifth 
generation  from  John  Jacob  Astor  and  Sarah  Todd 
Astor. 

Timothy  Todd  of  Vermont,  a  surgeon,  was  at  the 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  9 

battle  of  Bennington  and  a  member  of  the  Governor's 
council. 

Eben  Todd  served  through  the  War  of  the  Revolu- 
tion. 

Thomas  Todd  was  also  a  member  of  the  Continental 
army.  His  son  Charles  was  one  of  General  Harrison's 
four  aides  and  was  afterwards  minister  to  the  Russian 
court. 

In  the  War  of  181 2  George  Todd  was  a  lieutenant- 
colonel.    His  son  David  was  governor  of  Ohio. 

John  Todd  of  Vermont  was  a  preacher,  author  and 
educator.  His  Students'  Manual  had  a  great  vogue, 
and  he  helped  to  found  Mt.  Holyoke  Seminary. 

The  Todds  patented  lands  in  Gloucester  county,  Vir- 
ginia, in  1652,  and  "Toddsbury  Manor"  was  their 
home.  Thomas  Todd  wTas  the  builder  of  Toddsbury 
House  in  1658 — and  by  his  will  it  passed  to  his  son 
Thomas.  The  house,  built  of  brick,  and  the  brick  wall 
around  the  garden  show  extreme  age.  It  is  beautifully 
paneled  on  the  inside.  For  generations  it  was  the  home 
of  the  Todds,  who  were  noted  for  their  lavish  hospi- 
tality. There  were  a  Christopher  Todd  and  a  Francis 
Todd  in  this  family,  as  the  tombstones  show. 

Thomas  Todd  was  not  only  justice  of  Gloucester 
county,  but  he  held  other  offices. 


io  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

From  Virginia  and  Pennsylvania  some  of  the  Todds 
came  to  Kentucky. 

Mary  Todd's  ancestry  traces  back  to  Scottish  Cove- 
nanters who,  loving  honor  above  worldly  possessions 
and  holding  their  faith  greater  than  life,  stubbornly 
fought  the  King  and  defied  the  established  Church  of 
England.  Of  the  Covenanters  captured  at  Bothwell 
Bridge  and  sentenced  to  transportation  to  America,  two 
hundred  were  drowned  in  a  shipwreck  off  the  Orkneys. 
Among  those  who  died  thus  were  two  of  the  Todds, 
Robert  of  Fenwick  and  James  of  Dunbar.  In  the  same 
year,  1679,  m  which  these  two  were  drowned,  John 
Todd,  their  brother,  fled  from  the  persecutions  of  Cla- 
verhouse  in  Scotland  to  find  refuge  in  the  north  of  Ire- 
land. He  is  described  as  "Scottish  laird,"  meaning 
simply  that  he  owned  land  in  fee  simple  and  was  a 
landlord,  not  that  he  was  in  any  degree  allied  with  the 
nobility.  Two  of  his  grandsons,  Andrew  and  Robert 
Todd,  came  to  America  with  their  families  in  1737 
and  located  in  Montgomery  county,  Pennsylvania. 
Robert  Todd,  born  in  Ireland  in  1697,  there  married 
his  first  wife,  Jean  Smith.  There  were  two  sons  of  this 
marriage,  David  and  John.  David,  born  in  Ireland, 
April  8,  1723,  married  Hannah  Owen.  Their  third 
son,  Levi  Todd,  married  Jane,  or  Jean,  Briggs.  Their 
seventh  child,  Robert  Smith  Todd,  married  Eliza  Ann 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  n 

Parker.  Their  fourth  child,  Mary  Todd,  married 
Abraham  Lincoln. 

The  genealogy  of  Mary  Todd's  mother,  Eliza  Ann 
Parker,  traces  back  to  the  same  Robert  Todd,  born 
in  Ireland  in  1697,  the  grandson  of  the  John  Todd,  who 
fled  from  Scotland  in  1679.  Robert  Todd's  second 
wife  was  Isabella  Bodley.  Their  second  daughter, 
Elizabeth  Todd,  married  William  Parker.  Their 
daughter,  Elizabeth  Parker,  married  General  Andrew 
Porter.  Their  daughter,  Elizabeth  Porter,  married 
her  cousin,  Major  Robert  Parker.  Their  fourth  daugh- 
ter, Eliza  Ann  Parker,  married  Robert  Smith  Todd. 
Their  fourth  child,  Mary  Todd,  married  Abraham 
Lincoln.  It  will  be  seen  that  Mary  Todd's  mother  and 
father  had  the  same  great-grandfather,  Robert  Smith 
Todd  having  descended  through  his  great-grand- 
father's first  marriage  to  Jean  Smith",  and  Eliza  Ann 
Parker  having  descended  through  their  mutual  great- 
grandfather's second  marriage  to  Isabella  Bodley. 

Mary  Todd  was  related  to  many  illustrious  fami- 
lies in  Pennsylvania:  the  Parkers,  the  Bodleys,  Owens, 
McFarlands,  Findlays,  Majors,  Porters.  Her  great- 
grandfather, General  Andrew  Porter,  was  the  close 
friend  of  Washington.  The  Porters  furnished  Penn- 
sylvania with  a  governor,  and  two  of  them  filled  cabinet 


12  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

positions.    The  Todds  occupied  positions  of  trust  and 

honor  and  made  the  best  of  citizens  wherever  found. 

"The  Todds  have  intermarried  with  the  Wickliffs,  the 
Shelbys,  the  Breckenridges,  the  Didlakes,  the  Brents,  the 
Woodleys,  the  Craigs,  the  Swifts,  the  McDowells,  the 
Parkers,  and  so  on  and  on.  These  families  have  intermar- 
ried with  the  Prestons,  the  McCaws,  the  Paynes,  the  Kin- 
keads,  the  Woolfolks,  so  the  interests  of  the  Todds  extend 
to  most  houses  in  this  community."  (Lexington  Herald, 
February  7,  1908.) 

John  Todd  (Mary  Todd's  great-uncle),  the  brother 
of  David  Todd,  was  graduated  at  Princeton  in  1749 
and  located  in  Louisa  county,  Virginia.  He  became 
so  distinguished  as  a  Presbyterian  minister  that  it  is 
said  no  history  of  the  Presbyterian  Church  could  be 
written  without  honorable  mention  of  him.  He  was 
largely  instrumental  in  establishing  Transylvania  Sem- 
inary (later  Transylvania  University),  of  Kentucky, 
and  a  gift  of  books  from  him  formed  the  nucleus  of  the 
present  fine  library  of  the  university. 

David  Todd,  John  Todd's  brother,  and  the  great- 
grandfather of  Mary  Todd,  in  1783  sold  his  land  in 
Pennsylvania  for  $12,000  and  moved  to  Kentucky,  he 
and  his  wife  Hannah  Owen  being  so  grieved  at  the  loss 
of  their  distinguished  son,  Colonel  John  Todd,  who 
had  been  killed  two  years  before  at  the  battle  of  Blue 


iMARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  13 

Licks  (said  to  have  been  the  bloodiest  battle  between 
the  whites  and  Indians  ever  fought  on  Kentucky  soil), 
that  they  wished  to  be  with  their  remaining  sons,  Rob- 
ert and  Levi.  David  died  the  year  after  he  moved 
to  Kentucky.  David  Todd  and  Hannah  Owen  had  four 
sons,  one  of  whom,  Owen,  settled  in  Ohio  and  bore  a 
brave  part  in  Indian  warfare.  The  other  three,  John, 
Robert,  and  Levi,  were  educated  in  a  classical  school 
in  Virginia  taught  by  their  uncle,  the  Reverend  John 
Todd.  The  eldest,  Colonel  John  Todd,  studied  law 
and  was  appointed  by  Patrick  Henry  to  be  the  first 
civil  governor  and  lieutenant-commander  of  what  is 
now  the  great  State  of  Illinois.  His  record-  or  minute- 
book  is  now  in  the  possession  of  the  Chicago  Historical 
Society  and  forms  an  interesting  chapter  in  the  history 
of  that  State, 

During  the  War  of  the  Revolution,  General  George 
Rogers  Clark  numbered  among  his  brave  soldiers,  three 
of  the  Todd  brothers. 

In  1780  Kentucky  was  divided  into  three  counties, 
Lincoln,  Jefferson,  and  Fayette,  and  Thomas  Jefferson, 
then  governor  of  Virginia,  appointed  Colonel  John 
Todd,  colonel  of  Fayette  county,  Daniel  Boone,  as  lieu- 
tenant, and  Colonel  Thomas  Marshall,  as  Surveyor. 

Robert,  second  son  of  David  Todd  and  Hannah 
Owen,  married  his  cousin,  a  daughter  of  Parson  John 


14  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

Todd,  studied  law  and  settled  in  Virginia.  Levi,  third 
son  of  David  Todd  and  Hannah  Owen,  was  born  in 
Pennsylvania  in  1756,  was  educated  by  his  uncle,  Par- 
son John  Todd,  also  studied  law,  and  came  early  to 
Kentucky.  He  was  purchaser  of  the  first  sale  of  lots  in 
Lexington,  Kentucky,  in  1781,  filled  several  offices  of 
trust,  became  a  brigadier-  and  then  a  major-general, 
both  of  which  titles  were  won  in  actual  service.  He 
was  a  sensible,  intelligent,  well-educated  man; 

"a  solid,  substantial  and  enterprising  citizen;  a  consistent 
Presbyterian,  a  valuable  and  faithful  public  servant;  a  good 
soldier  and  greatly  respected  when  such  qualities  meant  so 
much  to  the  building  of  a  state."     (T.  M.  Green.) 

General  Levi  Todd  and  Jane  Briggs  had  eleven  chil- 
dren. The  seventh  child,  Robert  Smith  Todd  (Mrs. 
Lincoln's  father),  was  born  February  25,  1791,  in  the 
house  built  by  his  father  a  few  miles  from  Lexington 
on  the  Richmond  Pike.  He  named  the  place  "El- 
lersly"  in  honor  of  a  small  Scottish  village  once  the 
home  of  the  Todds.  The  house  is  still  standing  and  is 
now  owned  by  the  Lexington  Water  Company. 

Robert  Smith  Todd  held  positions  of  trust  and  re- 
sponsibility. He  was  for  many  years  clerk  of  the  House 
of  Representatives,  was  State  senator  and  was  the  pres- 
ident of  the  Lexington  branch  of  the  Bank  of  Kentucky 
from  its  establishment  in  1836  until  his  death. 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  15 

"Not  a  man  of  brilliant  talents,  but  one  of  clear  strong 
mind,  sound  judgment,  exemplary  life  and  conduct,  dignified 
and  manly  bearing,  an  influential  and  useful  citizen." 
(T.  M.  Green,  Historic  Families  of  Kentucky.) 

He  and  Eliza  Ann  Parker  were  married  at  the  home 
of  her  parents  in  Short  Street,  Lexington,  Kentucky. 
The  property  is  now  used  as  a  Baptist  orphans'  home. 
The  young  couple  went  to  housekeeping  in  a  house 
built  by  Mr.  Todd  on  an  adjoining  lot  to  the  Parker 
home.  They  had  seven  children:  Levi;  Elizabeth; 
Frances;  Mary  (born,  December  13,  181 8) ;  Ann;  Rob- 
ert Parker  Todd,  who  died  when  he  was  fourteen 
months  old  and  was  buried  in  a  cemetery  on  Main 
Street.  The  body  of  this  child  and  that  of  his  mother 
who  had  died  when  George  was  born  were  later  re- 
moved and  buried  together  in  the  Todd  lot  in  the  Lex- 
ington cemetery. 

Mr.  Todd  had  by  his  second  marriage  nine  children: 
Robert  Smith  Todd,  who  lived  only  a  few  days;  Sam- 
uel, killed  in  Confederate  ranks  at  Shiloh;  David,  died 
from  the  effect  of  wounds  received  at  Vicksburg — 
Confederate;  Alexander,  Confederate,  killed  at  Baton 
Rouge;  Margaret  (Mrs.  Kellogg);  Martha  (Mrs. 
White) ;  Emilie  (Mrs.  Ben  Hardin  Helm)  ;  Elodie 
(Mrs.  Dawson)  ;  and  Katherine  (Mrs.  Herr). 


CHAPTER    III 

A  BLUE  GRASS  LASSIE 

A  FTER  the  death  of  Mr.  Todd's  first  wife  in  July, 
-^"^1825,  and  shortly  after  his  second  marriage,  less 
than  two  years  later,  wishing  to  indulge  his  bride  and 
himself  in  their  passion  for  flowers,  he  bought  a  com- 
modious double  brick  house  with  a  wide  hall  in  the 
center.  On  the  grounds  at  the  back  were  stables  and 
servants'  quarters,  and  best  of  all,  in  fact,  the  chief  in- 
ducement in  buying  this  place,  was  a  large  formal 
flower  garden  beautifully  planned  and  filled  with  bulbs 
and  flowering  shrubs. 

A  conservatory  at  the  left  of  the  house  opened  from 
the  library  and  led  into  the  wide  garden  walk.  A  small 
stream  which  meandered  through  the  lower  end  of  the 
place,  and  in  which  the  Todd  youngsters  waded  and 
seined  for  minnows  in  and  out  of  season,  gave  them 
much  pleasure — in  season,  and  out  of  season  was  the 
cause  of  many  spankings  when  their  wet  clothes  and 
croupy  voices  betrayed  them.  The  Todd  boys  called 
this  source  of  joy  and  sorrow  the  "blabbing  brook." 
This  stream  has  long  since  gone  dry,  the  garden  has 

been  cut  into  building  lots,  and  the  house,  though  still 

16 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  17 

standing  on  Main  Street  in  Lexington,  Kentucky,  has 
fallen  sadly  from  its  once  desirable  estate. 

Mary  Todd  was  eight  years  old  when  her  father  took, 
for  his  second  bride,  Miss  Elizabeth  Humphreys 
(daughter  of  Dr.  Alexander  Humphreys  of  Staunton, 
Virginia).  Mrs.  Todd's  ancestry  boasted  men  and 
women  of  scholarly  attainments  and  high  ideals.  She 
often  repeated  the  familiar  saying,  and  believed  it,  too, 
that  it  took  seven  generations  to  make  a  lady. 

Very  calmly  and  competently  she  undertook  the  care 
and  training  of  the  six  stepchildren,  ranging  in  age 
from  eighteen  months  to  fourteen  years. 

Elizabeth  at  fourteen  had  already  engaged  in  a  ro- 
mance with  Ninian  Wirt  Edwards,  a  student  at  Tran- 
sylvania University,  and  at  about  sixteen  she  married 
him  and  went  to  Springfield,  Illinois,  to  preside  over 
the  governor's  mansion,  her  father-in-law,  Governor 
Ninian  Edwards,  being  a  widower. 

Mary's  grandmother,  Mrs.  Parker,  bitterly  resented 
the  coming  of  a  stepmother  for  her  grandchildren,  and 
never  became  reconciled  with  the  second  Mrs.  Todd. 
Whether  she  influenced  Mary,  I  do  not  know,  but 
Mary  was  a  bundle  of  nervous  activity,  wilful  and 
original  in  planning  mischief,  and  so  the  inevitable 
clashes  with  her  very  conventional  young  stepmother. 
However,  in  later  years  they  became  very  good  friends 


1 8  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

as  they  had  many  tastes  in  common.  They  both  loved 
people,  flowers,  and  books.  The  Todd  library  was  well 
stocked  with  many  standard  works. 

Mr.  and  Mrs.  Todd  were  social  favorites  and  they 
entertained  in  the  lavish  way  then  in  vogue  among 
their  friends. 

As  far  back  as  1816,  Lexington  was  considered  the 
leading  city  of  fashion  in  the  West.  A  visitor  at  that 
time  said: 

"Lexington  is  as  large  as  Cincinnati.  The  inhab- 
itants are  as  polished  and,  I  regret  to  add,  as  luxurious 
as  those  of  Boston,  New  York  or  Baltimore,  and  their 
assemblies  and  parties  are  conducted  with  as  much  ease 
and  grace  as  in  the  oldest  towns  in  the  Union." 

Such  a  number  of  carriages  filled  the  streets  that  a 
writer  gave  it  the  name  of  "The  city  that  goes  on 
wheels."  In  other  and  more  solid  respects  Lexington 
was  also  quite  exceptional :  the  literary  culture  and  edu- 
cational advantages  had  become  such  that  in  1824  the 
city  was  spoken  of  far  and  wide  as  the  "Athens  of  the 
West."  Able  and  eloquent  men  filled  the  city's  pulpits. 
Transylvania  University  had  attained  professors  of  Eu- 
ropean celebrity,  and  the  town  was  filled  to  overflowing 
with  academical,  medical,  and  law  students  drawn 
from  all  over  the  Middle  West  and  South.  The  local 
newspapers  were  leaders  of  the  State  press,  and  the 


MARY,  WIFE  OK  LINCOLN  19 

Lexington  bar  was  probably  the  strongest  in  the  United 
States. 

Mrs.  Todd's  niece,  Elizabeth  Humphreys  (after- 
wards married  to  Judge  Norris  of  Batavia,  Ohio)  came 
to  live  in  Mr.  Todd's  home  to  enjoy  the  superior  ad- 
vantages of  the  Lexington  schools.  Mary  Todd  and 
Elizabeth  Humphreys  became  the  most  intimate  and 
devoted  of  friends.  They  shared  the  same  room,  had 
the  same  friends  and  the  same  interests.  They  strolled, 
arms  around  each  other,  in  the  garden,  sometimes  read 
and  studied  there,  breathing  luxuriously  the  perfume  of 
the  lilac  hedge  and  the  arbor  of  roses,  fragrant  whiffs 
of  spicy  buster-pinks,  heliotrope  and  lemon-verbena 
wafted  from  the  borders. 

Sometimes  Mary,  bubbling  over  with  fun,  would 
plan  some  prank  to  be  played  next  day  with  Elizabeth's 
enthusiastic  connivance.  Mammy  (the  negro  nurse) 
was  suspicious  of  these  moods  in  the  children  and 
would  say  "The  debil  been  whisperin'  'round  'mong 
these  chil'en."  Then  it  was  that  she  tasted  her  coffee 
with  misgiving,  expecting  to  find  it  salted  or  peppered. 
When  summoned  from  the  garden  to  supper,  Mary  and 
Elizabeth  would  have  a  rose  tucked  coquettishly  over 
one  ear,  "for  [Elizabeth  wrote]  Mary  even  as  a  child 
always  loved  to  wear  flowers  in  her  hair.  One  spring 
morning,  hearing  the  peep  of  a  little  turkey,  Mary  and 


20  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

I  flew  out  to  the  garden  to  find  the  little  fellow.  After 
hunting  for  some  time  we  discovered  the  sound  came 
from  the  honeysuckle  vines  which  covered  the  latticed 
summer  house  at  the  end  of  the  garden  walk,  the  gen- 
tle little  peep  suddenly  turned  to  the  harsh  note  of  the 
jay  bird,  and  we  saw  the  quick  flicker  of  white  in  the 
wing  of  that  masquerader,  the  mocking  bird.  The  lit- 
tle rascal  never  tired  of  pretending  to  be  some  other 
feathered  creature,  now  a  field  lark,  now  a  cardinal, 
now  the  gentle  peep  of  a  little  turkey.  We  had  hunted 
half  an  hour  for  that  little  turkey." 

Another  day,  there  was  great  excitement  over  the 
expanding  of  a  bud  of  the  night-blooming  cereus.  Mes- 
sengers were  dispatched  in  every  direction  with  notes 
inviting  friends  to  witness  the  opening  of  this  rare 
flower.  It  was  said  to  bloom  only  once  in  a  hundred 
years.  The  children,  who  for  this  occasion  were  al- 
lowed to  remain  out  of  bed  until  twelve  o'clock,  looked 
on  in  awed  silence,  while  the  delicate  white  petals 
slowly  uncurled. 

Mary  and  Elizabeth  were  very  studious.  With  in- 
tent little  faces  they  pored  over  their  books  every  night, 
one  on  each  side  of  a  study  table,  a  candle  flickering 
between  them.  Now  and  then  one  or  the  other  would 
stop  long  enough  to  pinch  off  with  the  snuffers  a  piece 
of  the  charred  wick  for  a  steadier  light. 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  21 

"Mary  [Elizabeth  wrote  afterwards]  was  far  in 
advance  over  girls  of  her  age  in  education;  she  had  a 
retentive  memory  and  a  mind  that  enabled  her  to  grasp 
and  thoroughly  understand  the  lesson  she  was  required 
to  learn.  Ours  was  a  hard  task,  but  long  before  I  was 
through  mine  she  had  finished  hers  and  was  plying  her 
knitting  needles.  We  were  required  to  knit  ten  rounds 
of  sock  every  evening." 

Mary  was  a  pupil  of  the  celebrated  Mr.  Ward,  a 
man  of  unusual  ability  as  an  educator,  also  a  regular 
martinet.  His  requirements  and  rules  were  very  strict 
and  woe  to  her  who  did  not  conform  to  the  letter.  Mary 
accepted  the  conditions  cheerfully,  even  eagerly,  and 
never  came  under  his  censure.  Mr.  Ward  required  his 
pupils  to  recite  some  of  their  lessons  before  breakfast. 
On  bright  summer  mornings  this  was  no  hardship  and 
Mary  skipped  blithely  to  her  recitations,  but  she  never 
murmured  if  conditions  were  not  so  pleasant,  and  when 
she  had  to  get  up  out  of  her  warm  bed  and  dress  by 
candle  light,  she  and  Elizabeth  smiled  and  trudged 
sturdily  through  snow  and  sleet  to  school  which  was 
several  city  blocks  from  their  home.  Mary  and  Eliza- 
beth had  many  good  times  together  despite  the  fact 
that  children  were  allowed  but  few  privileges.  Sun- 
day school  was  a  demure  recreation,  but  looked  forward 
to  with  pleasure  as  an  opportunity  to  recite  glibly,  and 


22  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

a  little  more  accurately  than  some  other  child,  the 

Shorter  Catechism. 

Christmas  was  a  time  of  great  joy,  and  on  Christmas 
day  the  children,  who  had  sprung  early  out  of  bed  to 
empty  mother's  long  stockings,  borrowed  for  the  occa- 
sion to  give  Santa  Claus  more  room  in  which  to  store 
their  few  and  simple  toys,  were  allowed  to  run  around 
to  their  young  friends  in  the  neighborhood  to  wish 
"Happy  Christmas"  and  "catch"  them  by  screaming 
"Christmas  gift"  first  out  of  excited  lips.  There  was 
always  church  followed  by  a  big  Christmas  dinner,  a 
house  full  of  company,  and  freedom  from  school  tasks 
for  a  few  days,  so  they  were  happy  and  satisfied. 

Elizabeth  writes  to  Mrs.  Ben  Hardin  Helm  (Mary's 
sister) : 

"I  love  to  think  of  the  years  I  spent  in  your  father's 
home.  He  was  a  man  of  unfailing  courtesy  and  was 
remarkably  kind  to  me.  It  was  a  charming  home. 
Some  very  distinguished  men  came  to  Lexington  in 
those  days,  and  many  of  them  were  entertained  at  your 
father's  home.  Aunt  was  very  delicate  and  I  often 
wonder  how  she  lived  through  some  of  those  years. 

"Jane  Sanders,  a  negro  slave,  was  a  treasure.  She 
was  brought  up  and  trained  by  Aunt's  mother.  She  was 
our  stand-by,  especially  as  some  of  the  other  slaves  were 
very  trifling.     Old  Chaney  was  a  delightful  cook  but 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  23 

very  cross  and  ill-tempered.  Nelson,  next  to  Jane 
in  dependability,  serving  very  well  in  the  dining  room. 
He  did  the  marketing  and  was  a  good  financier  as  he 
managed  to  save  enough  out  of  the  market  money  to  buy 
himself  a  horse.  Sally  was  a  jewel  of  a  black  mammy. 
She  alternately  spoiled  and  scolded  the  children,  but 
they  loved  her  and  never  rebelled  against  her  author- 
ity. Dear  Old  Mammy  Sally  was  very  pious  and  loved 
to  go  to  the  'white  folks'  church  and  sit  in  the  gallery 
reserved  for  negroes,  she  took  turn  about  in  church- 
going  with  Judy  (a  young  assistant  nurse  owned  by 
Mrs.  Todd's  mother)  though  the  latter  had  decidedly 
the  advantage  in  that  regard,  as  Mammy  would  never 
trust  a  sick  child  or  very  young  baby  to  Judy — Judy, 
who  was  so  good,  and  reliable,  and  versatile  that  all  of 
us  called  on  her  for  everything — but  Mammy  was  very 
zealous  and  no  less  jealous  in  her  care  of  'my  chil'en' 
as  she  called  the  little  Todds. 

"Mammy  never  seemed  to  come  home  from  church 
in  a  very  good  humor  and  always  chided  Judy  for 
some  fancied  neglect  of  the  children.  We  also  came 
in  for  our  share  of  the  scolding.  Such  occasions  af- 
forded Mammy  a  fine  opportunity  to  preach  the  gospel 
to  us  with  impassioned  oratory  and  great  dramatic 
effect,  and  our  youthful  escapades  called  down  upon 
our  devoted  heads  such  dire  punishments  in  the  future 


24  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

that  we  shivered  with  half-believing  fear  and  stopped 
our  ears  with  our  fingers.  Mary  was  so  fascinated 
with  Mammy's  description  of  his  Satanic  majesty  that 
she  made  her  repeat  it  time  and  time  again,  although 
we  knew  it  by  heart.  We  realized,  of  course,  that 
Mammy  mixed  th<?  Scriptures  with  many  inappropri- 
ate proverbs  and  sayings  which  salved  our  fear  of  fu- 
ture torment.  'Mammy,'  Mary  would  innocently  ask, 
taking  her  fingers  out  of  her  ears,  'do  you  think  you 
could  have  dreamed  that  about  the  old  bad  man?  I 
am  sure  I  saw  you  nod  in  church.'  Mammy  would  bri- 
dle indignantly.  'Chile,  you  never  saw  me  do  no  such 
ill  mannered  doin's.'  Mary  would  glance  mischie- 
vously at  me,  'Mammy,  didn't  you  say  he  has  horns?' 
'Yes,  honey,'  would  answer  Mammy,  'just  like  that  old 
male  cow  animal  out  at  your  Uncle  Stuart's  house  in 
the  country,  and  ole  man  Satan  bellers  and  shakes  his 
head  and  sharpens  up  his  horns  on  the  ground  and 
paws  up  the  dust  with  both  his  front  feet  at  once.*  'But,' 
would  interrupt  Mary,  'what  does  he  stand  on  when 
he  is  pawing  with  both  feet?  Has  he  four  legs?'  'No, 
honey,'  Mammy  would  patiently  explain,  'but  he  can 
stand  on  his  tail  and  that  makes  him  mo'  fearsome 
like.'  'I  don't  think  his  tail  is  the  color  you  say  it  is,' 
would  prod  Mary.  'It  would  naturally  be  black.'  'No, 
chile,'  emphatically  from  Mammy,  'you  must  not  de- 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  25 

moralize  the  holy  word  which  I  heared  out'en  the 
preacher's  own  mouth,  right  at  your  pa's  dinner  table.' 
With  the  solemn  voice  and  manner  she  always  used 
when  she  thought  she  was  quoting  the  gospel  truth, 
straight  out  of  the  Bible,  she  would  intone  'Neat  but 
not  gaudy  as  the  debil  said  when  he  painted  his  tail  pea 
green.'  Here  was  the  delicious  point  in  the  story, 
where  Mary  always  bubbled  over  with  laughter  and 
the  scandalized  old  nurse  would  say  indignantly, 
'Well,  I  hopes  and  prays  you  won't  never  have  to  see 
his  old  green  tail,'  but  as  if  doubting  the  description 
herself  she  would  add  'Course  the  old  rapscallion  might 
have  told  a  lie  about  the  color  he  painted  his  tail,  it 
wouldn't  a  been  past  him  to  try  to  fool  poor  humans 
who  would  just  naturally  think  his  tail  would  be  black.' 
"Mammy  was  convinced  that  the  jay  birds  went  to 
hell  every  Friday  night  and  told  the  devil  all  of  our 
shortcomings  of  the  previous  week.  Mary  was  the 
only  one  of  us  brave  enough  to  challenge  Satan's  mes- 
senger. The  little  rascal  with  his  crested  head  tilted 
sidewise  looked  so  impudent  that  Mary  could  not  re- 
sist retaliation.    She  chanted: 


« < 


Howdy,  Mr.  Jay.    You  are  a  tell-tale-tell. 

You  play  the  spy  each  day,  then  carry  tales  to  hell.' 

"After  which  poetic  effusion,  the  bird  answering  rau- 


26  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

cously  'Jay!  jay!7  Mary  ran  shrieking  to  Mammy  for 
protection.  Mammy  described  the  visit  of  'Mr.  Jay' 
to  the  'bad  place'  in  this  wise: 

"  'They's  a  tall  table  on  one  side  of  the  room  an'  a 
little  debil  settin'  up  on  a  stool  so  high  that  his  tail 
don't  no  way  tech  the  flo'.  Mr.  Jay  twitters  in  ole  man 
Satan's  ears:  "Mary  hid  Mammy's  slippers  when  po' 
old  Mammy  was  tryin'  to  res'  her  foots  in  the  garden 
after  lopin'  'roun'  all  day  after  bad  chil'en."  Old  Man 
Satan  bellers:  "Write  that  down  in  yo'  big  book,  little 
son."  Mr.  Jay:  "Lis'beth  he'ps  Mary  in  all  her  mis- 
cheevous  doin's."  Old  Man  Satan:  "Write  that  down 
son,  keerful — don't  trus'  nary  thing  to  yo'  recomenem- 
brance."  Mr.  Jay:  "Ann  hollered  when  Mammy 
curled  her  hair."  '  And  so  on  to  the  end  of  the  grievous 
history  of  seven  long  days  filled  with  the  iniquities  of 
the  little  Todds. 

"Mammy  had  a  retentive  memory  and  at  each  ar- 
raignment she  would  fix  a  stern,  accusing  eye  on  the 
culprit  who  with  a  stricken  look  would  nod  her  head 
in  shamed  acquiescence  to  the  count  against  her." 

Elizabeth  says  she  never  but  once  saw  Mary  exhibit 
temper.  When  she  was  ten  years  old  the  little  girl 
became  fascinated  by  the  lovely  bouffant  summer 
dresses  that  puffed  and  swayed  so  entrancingly  on  the 
hoop-skirted  ladies  of  the  period.     She  felt  that  she 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  27 

simply  must  have  a  swaying,  swishing  skirt  of  her  own. 
She  looked  in  great  disdain  at  her  plain  gingham  school 
dresses  and  simple  white  muslin  frocks  for  Sunday. 
Her  longing  grew  apace.  She  instinctively  knew  that 
her  request  for  a  hoop  skirt  would  be  considered  pre- 
posterous, would  be  refused ;  but  she  must  have  one  and 
be  in  the  admired  fashion.  It  was  a  terrible  worry  and 
caused  a  great  amount  of  planning  and  thinking.  At 
last  her  nimble  wits  found  a  way  and  she  told  Elizabeth 
of  her  plan — she  would  go  to  Mrs.  Hostetter's  and  ask 
her  for  some  of  her  weeping  willow  branches  and  she 
and  Elizabeth  would  make  hoop  skirts  and  wear  them 
to  Sunday  school  the  following  morning.  So  at  a  con- 
venient time  one  Saturday  afternoon,  she  got  her  little 
pink  sunbonnet,  found  a  basket,  and  slipped  off.  She 
was  gone  a  long  time,  but  when  she  came  back  she  was 
abundantly  supplied  with  the  precious  willows  which 
she  triumphantly  showed  Elizabeth  and  which  they 
carefully  hid  in  a  closet  in  their  bedroom. 

They  were  afraid  to  begin  their  preparations  until 
after  supper.  With  mysterious  nods  and  glances  the 
little  conspirators  waited  impatiently,  fearing  mightily 
some  interruption  of  their  plan,  but  at  last  the  time  was 
ripe.  They  took  a  candle,  went  to  their  room  and  locked 
the  door,  took  out  of  the  closet  the  basket  of  willow 
switches  and  their  narrow  little  white  muslin  frocks 


28  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

and,  seated  on  the  floor,  lost  no  time  in  commencing  the 
important  work  before  them.  Their  progress  was  awk- 
ward and  slow  and  they  were  surprised  and  startled 
when  Mrs.  Todd  on  her  way  to  her  bedroom  tapped 
on  the  door  and  told  them  it  was  time  they  were  in  bed. 
Mary  answered,  "Yes,  mother,"  and  she  and  Elizabeth 
waited  as  quietly  as  mice  until  they  thought  everybody 
must  be  asleep;  then  relighting  their  candle  they 
worked  nearly  all  night. 

At  last,  with  a  thrill  of  delight,  they  viewed  their 
finished  handiwork  and  proudly  hung  the  hoop-skirted 
dresses  in  the  closet.  They  were  too  excited  to  sleep, 
so  it  was  easy  to  get  down  to  breakfast  in  good  time.  As 
soon  as  they  could  they  flew  upstairs  and  hurriedly 
dressed.  Mary,  with  a  buoyant  vitality  in  all  her  move- 
ments, was  dressed  first,  and  out  on  the  street,  before 
Elizabeth  had  reached  the  front  door.  One  moment 
and  they  would  have  been  safe,  but,  alas,  as  fate  would 
have  it,  Mrs.  Todd  coming  into  the  hall  at  that  mo- 
ment gave  one  amazed  glance  at  Elizabeth.  She 
reached  the  door  in  a  second  and  called  Mary  back. 
"There  we  stood  before  her,"  said  Elizabeth,  many 
years  later,  "a  burlesque  on  vanity,  two  of  the  most  gro- 
tesque figures  her  eyes  ever  fell  upon,  with  hoops  that 
bulged  in  the  front  and  at  the  back,  while  they  fell  in 
at  the  side9,"  the  narrow  white  muslin  skirts  stretched 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  29 

to  the  bursting  point.  The  children  had  sewed  in  the 
willow  branches  just  as  they  came  off  the  tree,  one  end 
being  large  and  rather  stiff,  and  the  other  end  tapering 
to  a  flexible  tip. 

Mrs.  Todd  looked  them  over  from  head  to  foot  with 
great  amusement  and  laughed. 

"What  frights  you  are.  Take  those  awful  things  off, 
dress  yourselves  properly  and  go  to  Sunday  school." 
The  two  little  girls,  their  plans  all  awry,  their  precious 
hoop  skirts  ridiculed,  went  to  their  room  chagrined  and 
mortified,  and  Mary  burst  into  a  flood  of  angry  tears. 
She  thought  they  were  badly  treated  and  freely  said 
so.  Her  cherished  plan  came  to  naught,  her  world  for 
the  moment  in  ruins.  Elizabeth  agreed  most  heartily 
with  everything  Mary  said  but,  being  the  guest  of  her 
aunt,  said  nothing: 

"It  is  well,"  she  wrote  long  afterwards,  "that  our  dis- 
play was  confined  to  our  own  premises*  If  we  had 
got  into  the  McChord  Church,  which  we  were  so  anx- 
ious to  do,  Mr.  Young's  eloquent  flights  of  oratory 
would  have  fallen  on  deaf  ears  and  he  as  well  as  the 
congregation  would  have  been  convulsed  with  laughter 
and  Aunt  too  mortified  to  hold  up  her  head.  This  es- 
capade was  a  standing  joke  in  the  family  for  years.  A 
fine  opportunity  for  the  gleeful  teasing  of  the  boys, 
who,  witlessly  we  thought,  presented  us  with  switches, 


30  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

making  grand  flourishing  bows  and  low  and  insulting 

suggestions  as  to  how  the  switches  should  be  applied. 

"Our  feelings  were  somewhat  salved  when  your 
father  soon  after  came  up  from  New  Orleans,  bringing 
each  of  us  some  lovely,  sheer,  embroidered  pink  muslin. 
Much  to  Mary's  delight,  Aunt  allowed  her  to  direct  the 
sewing  woman  how  to  make  the  frocks.  Your  father, 
also  on  that  trip,  brought  us  each  a  doll  which  squeaked 
most  entrancingly  when  pressed  on  its  little  stomach. 
We  thought  the  squeak  sounded  like  'Mama'  and  we 
hugged  our  babies  with  love  and  pride.  We  made  them 
clothes,  clumsily  put  together.  Mary  afterwards  devel- 
oped a  real  talent  for  sewing  and  used  her  needle  with 
artistic  effect.  Aunt  had  never  learned  to  sew,  and 
Mary  was  the  only  one  of  the  family  of  girls  who  ever 
learned  to  use  her  needle  with  skill.  Aunt  did  not, 
however,  idly  fold  her  hands;  whenever  she  was  not 
holding  a  book  she  was  knitting  or  crocheting,  and  all 
of  us  were  taught  to  knit." 

Among  Mary's  most  intimate  friends  at  this  time 
were  her  cousins,  Margaret  and  Mary  WicklifTe.  Mar- 
garet married  General  William  Preston,  and  Mary 
married  Colonel  John  Preston.  Mary  Jane  Warfield 
was  another  friend.  Elizabeth  Todd  (Mrs.  Ninian 
Edwards)  acted  as  bridesmaid  when  Mary  Jane  War- 
field  became  Mrs.  Cassius  M.  Clay.    Another  intimate 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  31 

friend  and  schoolmate  was  Miss  Bodley,  afterwards 
Mrs.  Owsley  of  Louisville,  Kentucky.  Perhaps  her 
most  intimate  friend,  outside  of  Elizabeth  Humphreys, 
was  her  cousin  Margaret  Stuart  (Mrs.  Woodrow),  sis- 
ter of  the  Honorable  John  Todd  Stuart  of  Springfield, 
Illinois.  The  father  of  these  two  was  the  Reverend 
Robert  Stuart  (he  had  married  Robert  Smith  Todd's 
sister).  The  Reverend  Robert  Stuart,  one  of  the  first 
three  professors  of  Transylvania  University  (lan- 
guages), was  minister  of  a  noted  Presbyterian  church 
at  Walnut  Hills,  a  few  miles  out  of  Lexington,  where 
he  had  his  country  home. 

The  Todds  and  Stuarts  were  very  intimate  and  there 
was  much  visiting  between  the  two  families.  In  the 
summer  and  autumn  there  were  many  picnics  in  the 
woods,  and  the  big  family  of  boys  and  girls  hunted 
walnuts  and  chestnuts  and  played  games  and  shouted 
with  the  sheer  joy  of  just  being  alive. 

Mary  in  those  days  was  called  a  "tomboy,"  was  al- 
ways playing  pranks,  and  was  the  fearless  and  inventive 
leader  in  every  possible  kind  of  mischief. 

In  the  winter  when  the  Todd  children  were  allowed 
to  spend  the  week-end  at  their  uncle's  country  place, 
there  were  sleigh  rides  in  the  farm  wagons  put  on  run- 
ners and  filled  with  straw,  and  in  the  evenings  before 
the  big,  glowing,  open  fireplace  with  its  huge  back  log 


&  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

and  showers  of  sparks  flying  up  the  wide  chimney, 
there  were  apples  to  be  roasted  and  corn  to  be  popped 
and  long  interesting  talks,  conundrums  to  guess,  and 
recitations  of  poems  by  Mary. 

Mrs.  Woodrow  wrote:  "Mary's  love  for  poetry, 
which  she  was  forever  reciting,  was  the  cause  of  many 
a  jest  among  her  friends.  Page  after  page  of  classic 
poetry  she  could  recite  and  liked  nothing  better.  She 
was  very  highly  strung,  nervous,  impulsive,  excitable, 
having  an  emotional  temperament  much  like  an  April 
day,  sunning  all  over  with  laughter  one  moment,  the 
next  crying  as  though  her  heart  would  break." 

Mary  had  an  aunt  living  at  Walnut  Hills,  her  father's 
sister  married  to  Charles  Carr.  A  number  of  children 
were  spending  the  day  with  her  at  her  country  place 
when  a  band  of  friendly  Indians  passed.  All  of  these 
children  had  been  brought  up  on  gruesome  tales  of  ma- 
rauding and  murderous  bands  of  Indians.  Not  one  of 
them  but  had  heard  of  some  ancestor  who  had  been 
tomahawked  and  scalped.  Mary  had  heard  her  uncle, 
John  Todd,  tell  of  the  time  he  had  been  compelled  to 
run  the  gauntlet  and  how  he  had  miraculously  escaped. 
Another  of  her  father's  brothers  had  been  captured  by 
the  Indians  and  was  held  by  them  for  three  years  be- 
fore he  found  an  opportunity  to  evade  their  vigilance ; 
so  no  wonder,  when  glancing  out  of  the  window  and 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  33 

seeing  this  band  of  redskins  approaching  bedecked  in 
blankets  and  feathers,  the  children  wildly  scampered  in 
every  direction  trying  to  find  places  to  hide.  Mary 
ran  to  the  great  open  fireplace  before  which  was  a  fire 
screen  and  crept  behind  it,  but  this  seemed  too  big  a 
place  for  such  a  little  slender  body,  so  she  dashed  out  to 
seek  another  hiding  place.  The  Indians  were  closer. 
All  the  other  children  were  safely  hidden.  She  had 
lost  valuable  time,  her  only  hope  was  heaven,  so  in  a 
panic,  but  with  a  beautiful  faith,  she  stood  in  the  center 
of  the  room  and  cried  "Hide  me,  oh,  my  Savior,  hide." 
This  same  faith  was,  later  in  life,  her  chief  source  of 
help  and  comfort,  when  most  other  sources  failed  her. 
One  day  the  latter  part  of  June,  1828,  Mary  and 
Elizabeth  in  their  little  strapped  slippers  climbed  the 
three  folding  steps  of  the  big  lumbering  Todd  carriage 
which  was  to  convey  them  the  twenty-six  miles  over 
to  Frankfort.  The  journey  would  consume  nearly  foui 
hours,  as  the  big  carriage  horses  trotted  very  sedately. 
The  two  little  girls  in  their  white  organdy  frocks  and 
blue  satin  sashes  looked,  for  all  the  world,  as  if  they 
had  intended  to  be  a  part  of  nature's  color  scheme,  for 
even  the  wild  roses  which  sprawled  over  the  stone 
fences  along  the  Frankfort  pike  were  duplicated  in  the 
wreaths  of  pink  roses  which  circled  their  wide- 
brimmed,  flapping,  leghorn  hats.    They  were  on  their 


34  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

way  to  spend  a  happy  week  with  Mrs.  Alexander 
Humphreys,  Mrs.  Todd's  mother — Elizabeth's  own 
grandmother,  and  Mary's  step-grandmother.  Mrs. 
Humphreys  was  a  highly  educated  old  lady  who, 
naughtily  for  her  day  and  generation,  read  Voltaire  in 
French.  She  also  doted  on  Volney,  both  books  being 
by  her  much  bracketed  and  interlined.  Mrs.  Hum- 
phreys' four  brothers  all  attained  eminence.  Preston 
Brown  was  a  skillful  physician;  John  Brown  served  as 
the  first  United  States  senator  from  Kentucky;  James 
Brown  was  twice  elected  to  the  United  States  Senate 
from  Louisiana  and  later  became  minister  to  France. 
Dr.  Samuel  Brown  was  the  earliest  professor  of  medi- 
cine in  Transylvania  and  the  most  famous  physician 
of  his  day  in  the  West.  After  his  graduation  from 
college  he  spent  ten  years  studying  medicine  in  Edin- 
burgh. He  was  especially  noted  as  being  the  first  to 
introduce  vaccination  into  this  country.  Dr.  Samuel 
Brown  was  particularly  fond  of  his  niece,  Mrs.  Robert 
S.  Todd,  and  the  massive  silver  used  each  day  on  the 
Todd  table  was  his  wedding  gift  to  her.  Mrs.  Hum- 
phreys was  an  "exquisite"  in  dress  and  mind  and  man- 
ner, the  quintessence  of  all  the  elegance,  virtue,  and 
culture  which  Mary  hoped  to  emulate.  She  said  to 
Elizabeth  Humphreys,  "If  I  can  only  be,  when  I  am 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  35 

grown  up,  just  like  Grandmother  Humphreys,  I  will 
be  perfectly  satisfied  with  myself." 

Mary  and  Elizabeth  were  allowed  to  go  to  a  ball  in 
Frankfort  with  their  grandmother  who  at  the  age  of 
seventy-three,  in  satin  gown  and  imported  lace  cap 
from  France,  led  the  grand  march.  Both  children 
had  a  romantic  attachment  for  this  charming  old  lady, 
who  was  an  emancipationist  and  had  great  influence 
in  forming  Mary's  views  on  that  subject.  She  died 
when  Mary  was  eighteen,  and  in  her  will  of  twenty- 
four  paragraphs,  eight  of  them  direct  the  disposition 
of  slaves. 

In  the  name  of  God  Amen:  I,  Mary  Humphreys, 
of  the  town  of  South  Frankfort,  and  County  of  Frank- 
lin and  State  of  Kentucky,  do  make  and  ordain  this 
my  last  will  and  testament  .  .  . 

9th.  I  devise  my  negro  slave,  John  Wales,  unto  my 
son,  David  C.  Humphreys,  until  the  Twenty-fifth  day 
of  December,  Eighteen  Hundred  and  Forty,  on  which 
said  day  the  said  John  Wales  is  to  be  free  and  emanci- 
pate from  all  kind  of  servitude. 

10th.  I  devise  my  negro  girl,  Jane,  to  my  daughter, 
Elizabeth  Todd,  until  the  twenty-fifth  day  of  Decem- 
ber, Eighteen  Hundred  and  Forty-four,  on  which  said 
date  the  said  Jane  is  to  be  free  from  all  kind  of  servi- 


36  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

tude  and  should  the  said  Jane  have  any  children  before 
the  day  on  which  she  is  to  be  free,  the  said  child  or 
children  if  boys  are  hereby  devised  to  the  said  Eliza- 
beth L.  Todd  until  they  respectively  attain  the  age  of 
twenty-eight  years,  whereby  they  are  to  be  free  and 
emancipate  from  all  manner  of  servitude,  if  girls  they 
are  hereby  devised  to  the  said  Elizabeth  L.  Todd  until 
they  respectively  attain  the  age  of  twenty-one  years, 
when  they  and  any  increase  they  may  have  are  to  be 
free  and  emancipate  from  all  manner  of  servitude. 

nth.  It  is  my  will  and  desire  that  my  negro  man 
slave  (name  blotted)  be  free  and  emancipate  from  all 
kind  of  servitude  on  the  twenty-eighth  day  of  Decem- 
ber, Eighteen  Hundred  and  Forty-one. 

i2th.  It  is  my  will  and  desire  that  my  negro  boy, 
Abraham,  be  free  and  emancipate  from  all  kind  of 
servitude  on  the  Twenty-fifth  day  of  December,  Eight- 
een Hundred  and  Forty-six* 

13th.  It  is  my  will  and  desire  that  my  negro  boy,  Al- 
fred, be  free  and  emancipate  from  all  kinds  of  servitude 
on  the  Twenty  — -  day  of  December,  Eighteen  Hun- 
dred and  Fifty-two. 

14th.  It  is  my  desire  that  my  negro  woman,  Judy, 
be  free  and  emancipate  from  all  kind  of  servitude  on 
the  Twenty-fifth  day  of  December,  Eighteen  Hundred 
and  Thirty-nine.     If  before  that  time  she  has  any 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  37 

children,  the  said  increase  of  males  are  to  be until 

they  are  respectively  twenty-eight  years  of  age,  and  as 
they  respectively  attain  that  age,  they  are  to  be  free  and 
emancipate  from  all  kind  of  servitude,  the  said  increase 
of  females  are  to  serve  until  they  are  respectively 
twenty-one  years  old,  and  as  they  respectively  attain 
that  age,  they  and  any  increase  they  may  have  are  to 
be  free  and  emancipate  from  all  kind  of  servitude. 

15th.  It  is  my  will  and  desire  that  my  negro  woman, 

,  be  free  and  emancipate  from  all  kind  of  servitude 

on  the  Twenty-fifth  day  of  December,  Eighteen  Hun- 
dred and  Forty-two.  If  before  that  time  she  has  any 
children,  the  said  increase  of  males  are  to  serve  until 
they  are  respectively  twenty-eight  years  old  and  as  they 
respectively  attain  that  age,  they  are  to  be  free  and 
emancipate  from  all  kind  of  servitude,  the  said  increase 
of  females  are  to  serve  until  they  are  respectively 
twenty-one  years  old  and  as  they  respectively  attain 
that  age,  they  and  any  increase  they  may  have  are  to  be 
free  and  emancipate  from  all  kind  of  servitude. 

1 6th.  It  is  my  will  and  desire  that  my  negro  girl, 
Mary  Jane,  be  free  and  emancipate  from  all  kind  oi 
servitude  on  the  Twenty-fifth  day  of  December,  Eight- 
een Hundred  and  Fifty-five,  if  before  that  time  she  has 
any  increase,  the  said  increase  of  males  are  to  serve 
until  they  are  respectively  twenty-eight  years  old  and 


38  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

as  they  respectively  attain  that  age  they  are  to  be  free 
and  emancipate  from  all  kind  of  servitude,  the  said  in- 
crease of  females  are  to  serve  until  they  are  respectively 
twenty-one  years  old  and  as  they  respectively  attain 
that  age  they  and  any  increase  they  may  have  are  to 
be  free  and  emancipate  from  all  kind  of  servitude  what- 
ever. 

17th.  It  is  my  will  and  desire  that  my  executor  hire 

out all  of  the  above  slaves  (except  John  Wales 

and  Jane)  and  their  increase  until  the  periods  respec- 
tively arrive  at  which  they  are  to  be  free  and  I  further 
authorize  and  empower  my  said  executor  to  make  any 
contract  he  may  think  proper  with  the  said  slaves,  or 
their  increase  for  the  purchase  by  them  of  the  time  that 
they,  or  their  increase  may  have  to  serve. 

Mary  and  Elizabeth  shivered  with  horror  over  a  re- 
volting occurrence  in  New  Orleans.  The  newspapers 
North  and  South  were  filled  with  accounts  of  it,  and 
of  the  riots  afterwards  which  popular  indignation  insti- 
gated. The  house  of  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Lalaurie  being 
discovered  in  flames,  the  doors  were  broken  open  and 
several  unfortunate  slaves  were  discovered  chained  in 
the  attic!  They  were  removed  to  a  place  of  safety 
where  they  would  be  protected  from  the  cruelty  of  their 
owners. 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  39 

Says  the  Bee  of  April  1 1 ,  1 834 :  "The  populace  have 
repaired  to  the  scene  of  this  cruelty  and  have  destroyed 
everything  upon  which  they  could  lay  their  hands.  At 
the  time  of  inditing  this  it  was  found  necessary,  for  the 
purpose  of  restoring  order,  for  the  sheriff  and  his  offi- 
cers to  repair  to  the  place  of  riot  and  to  interpose  the 
authority  of  the  state.  .  .  .  Nearly  the  whole  of  the 
edifice  is  demolished,  scarcely  anything  remains  but 
the  walls  which  the  popular  vengeance  have  orna- 
mented with  inscriptions  far  from  complimentary  to  its 
late  occupants." 

The  story  goes  that  the  Lalauries  barely  escaped  with 
their  lives,  and  never  dared  show  their  faces  in  New 
Orleans  again. 

Elizabeth  Humphreys  (Mrs.  Norris),  writing  to 
Mrs.  Ben  Hardin  Helm:  "We  were  horrified  and 
talked  of  nothing  else  for  days.  If  one  such  case  could 
happen,  it  damned  the  whole  institution,  though  in  our 
own  family,  I  think  the  slaves  rather  managed  us,  and 
we  heard  of  no  cruelty  to  the  slaves  of  our  friends  who 
seemed  to  love  and  trust  their  servants  as  we  did  ours. 
Grandmother  Humphreys  was  freeing  her  slaves,  the 
women  at  twenty-one,  the  men  at  twenty-eight.  Mary 
and  I  wondered  if  Mammy  wanted  to  be  free;  we 
concluded  she  did  not.  How  could  we  do  without 
Mammy,   and  how  could  she  exist  without  us?     It 


4o  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

would  just  about  kill  her  to  give  up  bossing  her  white 
'chillun.'  She  was  part,  and  a  very  important,  loved 
and  venerated  part,  of  our  family.  We  heard  a  knock- 
ing one  night.  Mary,  who  was  reading,  was  very  much 
annoyed. 

"  'Mammy,'  she  cried  impatiently,  'what  is  that 
knocking?    It  disturbs  me  so  I  can't  read.' 

"  'That,'  said  Mammy,  whispering  mysteriously, 
'might  be  a  run-a-way  nigger.  We  have  a  mark  on 
the  fence — I  made  it  myself — to  show  that  if  any  run-a- 
way is  hongry  he  can  get  vittles  right  here.  All  of  'em 
knows  the  sign,  I  have  fed  many  a  one.'  'Oh,'  cried 
Mary,  springing  up,  'you  know,  Mammy,  it  is  against 
the  law  to  help  run-a-way  slaves,  but  I  will  go  down 
and  give  him  food  myself.'  'No,  honey,'  cried  Mammy, 
restraining  her,  'he  would  hide  from  you  like  a  scared 
rabbit,  nothing  but  a  black  hand  reaching  out  to  him 
can  give  that  nigger  cornbread  and  bacon.' 

"We  kept  Mammy's  secret,"  continued  Elizabeth, 
"and  though  we  often  listened,  did  not  again  hear  the 
knocking;  but  from  that  time  our  ears  were  keyed  for 
any  tales  of  oppression.  Even  our  pampered  slaves 
may  have  grumbled  among  themselves ;  one  day  when 
we  were  all  out  in  the  county  at  Buena  Vista  (Mrs. 
Todd's  country  place)  Aunt  called  little  Dick,  seven 
or  eight  years  old  and  black  as  the  ace  of  spades.  'Dick/ 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  41 

she  said,  when  the  little  fellow  reluctantly  left  off  play- 
ing with  the  white  children,  'run  down  to  the  spring 
and  get  Miss  Betsy  a  pitcher  of  fresh  water.'  The 
spring,  of  very  fine,  sparkling,  ice-cold  water,  being 
only  a  stone's  throw  from  the  house,  and  the  pitcher 
holding  only  a  quart,  all  of  us  laughed  heartily  as  we 
heard  the  little  rascal  mutter,  intending  that  we  should 
hear  him,  The  white  folks  just  works  me  to  death.'  It 
made  no  impression  on  me  at  the  time  but  I  have  won- 
dered since  if  some  of  the  older  slaves'  'being  worked 
to  death'  was  like  little  Dick's  grumbling." 

Mary  when  fourteen  years  of  age  was  a  violent  little 
Whig.  Almost  from  her  babyhood  at  her  father's  table 
— when  still  in  short  dresses  and  curls  tied  with  ribbons, 
she  had  been  allowed  to  come  in  at  the  end  of  dinner 
for  dessert — she  had  heard  politics  discussed  by  emi- 
nent men  who  had  patted  her  on  the  head  and  who 
sometimes,  much  to  Mary's  delight,  gallantly  kissed  her 
hand.  She  stood  in  no  awe  of  great  men,  they  were 
to  her  as  much  a  matter  of  course  as  the  air  she  breathed. 
Moreover,  at  fourteen  she  knew  why  she  was  a  Whig 
and  not  a  Democrat.  General  Andrew  Jackson  was  a 
Democrat,  and  she  hated  him  with  all  her  might  and 
main  because  he  was  a  candidate  for  reelection  to  the 
Presidency  against  her  dear  friend,  Mr.  Henry  Clay. 
On  Saturday,  September  29,  1832,  Lexington  was  boil- 


42  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

ing  with  excitement.  General  Jackson  was  coming! 
The  streets  were  crowded  with  people  from  all  over  the 
State.  Men  in  broadcloth  rubbed  elbows  with  men  in 
jeans,  city  women  in  bright  filmy  dresses  filled  hand- 
some carriages,  women  from  the  rural  districts  crowded 
into  rough  wagons  with  all  their  children.  All  on  tip- 
toe to  take  part  in  the  excitement,  no  matter  what  their 
politics. 

A  big  rally  and  barbecue  had  been  planned  by  the 
Democrats  in  honor  of  the  President  of  the  United 
States,  who  was  at  the  same  time  their  chosen  candidate 
for  reelection.  The  atmosphere  at  "Fowler's  Garden" 
was  permeated  with  the  appetizing  aroma  of  roast  beef 
and  roast  pig ;  whisky  in  open  buckets  and  kegs,  great 
baskets  of  fried  chicken,  beaten  biscuits,  preserves, 
pickle,  cakes,  and  pies  were  on  their  way  to  be  piled  on 
the  long  tables  of  rough  boards  stretched  under  the 
trees.    All  comers  were  welcome  to  this  political  feast. 

"Old  Hickory,"  in  an  open  carriage,  seated  by  the 
side  of  Governor  Brethitt,  who  had  lately  been  elected 
to  that  office  by  the  Democrats,  was  escorted  by  an 
immense  procession — military  companies,  clubs,  orders, 
societies,  bands  of  music,  horsemen,  men  on  foot  bear- 
ing banners  with  political  inscriptions  surmounted  by 
game  cocks  crowing  so  lustily  as  to  be  heard  above  the 
hubbub  of  music  and  shouts.     Men  were  shouting, 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  43 

women  were  waving  handkerchiefs  and  hickory  twigs. 
Mary,  viewing  the  procession  from  a  carriage  in  the 
company  of  a  little  Democratic  friend  who  was  wildly 
clapping,  said,  "I  wouldn't  think  of  cheering  General 
Jackson,  for  he  is  not  our  candidate,  but  he  is  not  as 
ugly  as  I  heard  he  was." 

"Ugly!"  exclaimed  the  little  Democrat.  "If  you  call 
General  Jackson  ugly,  what  do  you  think  of  Mr. 
Clay?" 

"Mr.  Henry  Clay,"  said  Mary  coolly,  "is  the  hand- 
somest man  in  town  and  has  the  best  manners  of  any- 
body— except  my  father,"  she  added  dutifully.  "We 
are  going  to  snow  General  Jackson  under  and  freeze 
his  long  face  so  that  he  will  never  smile  again." 

"Humph!"  retorted  the  little  Democrat,  "Andrew 
Jackson  with  his  long  face  is  better  looking  than  Henry 
Clay  and  your  father  both  rolled  into  one." 

This  was  too  much.  And  the  disagreement  between 
the  two  little  politicians  ended  in  an  estrangement  last- 
ing through  many  years. 

Elizabeth  wrote: 

"Mary  and  I  could  never  pass  the  confectionery  shop 
of  Monsieur  Giron.  Most  of  our  small  allowance  of 
pocket  money  went  to  swell  his  coffers,  not  so  much  for 
the  pleasure  of  the  palate  as  for  the  joy  of  filling  our 
eyes  with  the  beauty  of  his  unique  creations. 


44  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

"When  Aunt  was  arranging  for  a  dining  or  a  party 
we  always  begged  to  be  allowed  to  take  the  written 
order  to  Monsieur  that  we  might  feast  our  eyes  on  the 
iced  cakes  decorated  with  garlands  of  pink  sugar  roses, 
or  the  bride's  cakes  with  their  fountains  of  clear,  spun 
sugar  pyramiding  in  the  center,  veiling  tiny  fat  cupids 
or  little  sugar  brides.  This  Frenchman  was  an  artist  in 
his  line  and  his  sweets  shop  was  one  of  the  features  of 
Lexington.  Above  his  shop  he  had  a  large  and  hand- 
somely decorated  ballroom;  in  this  room  many  famous 
balls  were  given.  Mary  chatted  to  Monsieur  in 
French,  much  to  his  delight." 

It  was  at  this  time,  when  Mary  was  fourteen  years 
old,  that  she  entered  the  French  boarding-school  con- 
ducted by  two  charming  French  gentlewomen  in  a 
quaint,  beautiful  place,  now  Mentelle  Park,  in  Lexing- 
ton. She  boarded  there  four  years,  coming  home  Fri- 
day evening  and  returning  early  Monday  morning. 
Nothing  but  French  was  spoken  in  that  school,  and 
during  the  four  years  of  her  tuition  she  acquired  a  thor- 
ough knowledge  of  the  language  and  spoke  the  purest 
Parisian.  As  long  as  she  lived  she  read  the  finest 
French  authors. 

Monsieur  and  Madame  Mentelle  and  their  two 
daughters  were  French  refugees  who  had  fled  from 
the  fury  of  the  bloodthirsty  mobs  at  the  beginning  of 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  45 

the  French  Revolution.  Loyal  to  their  unfortunate 
sovereign  Louis  XVI,  and  loving  with  deep  devotion 
the  frivolous  but  gentle  and  brave  Queen  Marie  An- 
toinette, they  could  never  allude  to  these  "martyrs" 
without  tears.  And  the  poor  little  Dauphin!  At  the 
thought  of  the  brutal  treatment  that  poor  child  received 
at  the  hands  of  his  heartless  captors,  Monsieur  Men- 
telle's  face  would  flush  a  deep  red  and  his  hands  would 
clench  in  impotent  rage.  Landing  in  America,  the  Men- 
telles  made  their  way  to  Lexington,  where  the  accom- 
plished Madame  Mentelle  opened  her  famous  and 
exclusive  little  school,  the  only  school  in  Kentucky 
where  French  was  the  sole  language  spoken. 

At  sixteen  Mary  spoke  French  very  fluently.  A 
French  play  had  been  studied,  and  Mary  was  given 
the  principal  part. 

"Indeed,"  wrote  Elizabeth,  "she  was  the  star  actress 
of  the  school,  and  I  was  thrilled  with  her  talent.  It 
was  not  like  the  first  time  I  saw  her  in  a  small  part  when 
I  was  trembling  with  nervousness  for  fear  she  might 
forget  her  lines;  this  was  quite  an  occasion,  and  each 
pupil  was  allowed  to  invite  a  guest.  Of  course,  Mary 
invited  me.  I  was  to  come  early  that  Friday  afternoon 
and  bring  a  cake  which  was  Mary's  contribution  to  the 
refreshments  to  be  served  after  the  play.  I  had  prom- 
ised to  bring  a  basket  of  flowers  for  the  table,  though 


46  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

it  was  late  for  flowers  and  very  hot  and  dusty  that  f alL 
I  thought  Nelson  would  never  bring  the  carriage 
around  to  the  door,  but  when  it  came  at  last,  Mary 
Jane  [a  young  slave  girl  belonging  to  Mrs.  Todd] 
was  seated  inside  with  the  big  round  hat  box  in  which 
Aunt  Chaney  had  carefully  placed  the  cake. 

"Mary  was  waiting  impatiently  at  the  door  as  we 
drove  up,  and  flew  at  me  like  a  whirlwind.  I  had  not 
seen  her  for  a  week  and  I  thought  she  had  grown  pret- 
tier during  that  time,  she  looked  so  dainty  in  her  fresh 
white  muslin  frock  and  silk  sash!  Her  cheeks  were 
as  pink  as  the  tea  roses  I  had  gathered  for  her.  I  al- 
ways thought  of  tea  roses  in  connection  with  Mary,  they 
seemed  so  to  suit  her,  to  be  a  part  of  her.  Her  blue 
eyes  were  sparkling  with  excitement,  her  pretty  chest- 
nut curls  were  bright  and  glossy.  She  chattered  a  volu- 
ble welcome  in  French,  not  being  allowed  to  speak  a 
word  of  English  until  she  left  Madame  Mentelle's 
premises.  Mary  Jane,  who  could  not  understand  the 
'outlandish  talk,'  shied  off  from  Mary  like  a  skittish 
colt ;  she  was  holding  tightly  to  the  hat  box  until  I  took 
it  from  her  and  told  her  to  go  and  get  Miss  Mary's 
things  and  put  them  in  the  carriage.  Mary  Jane  hated 
to  go  with  me  for  Mary  on  Friday  afternoons.  I  think 
she  was  really  superstitiously  afraid  of  the  unfamiliar 
tongue. 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  47 

"In  the  carriage  on  the  way  home  Mary  said,  'Mon- 
sieur Giron  must  have  made  that  cake  with  his  own 
hands.'  'No,  ma'am,'  exclaimed  Mary  Jane  indig- 
nantly, 'Aunt  Chaney  made  that  cake  her  own  self.  Her 
hands  is  just  as  knowin'  as  that  Frenchy's  is.'  'That  is 
enough,'  said  Mary  smiling.  'It  looked  like  Monsieur 
Giron;  the  icing  on  that  cake  was  as  white  as  Aunt 
Chaney  is  black  and  it  was  as  light  and  fine  grained 
inside  as  she  is  heavy  and  cross-grained  outside.  Bless 
her  old  heart,  I  am  going  to  give  her  a  bear's  hug  just 
as  soon  as  I  get  home — if  she  will  let  me — I  have  not 
had  a  good  scolding  for  a  week  but  trust  Aunt  Chaney 
and  Mammy  to  supply  that  lack.' 

"  'You  limb,'  I  laughed,  'you  are  aching  for  that 
scolding  and  I  have  no  doubt  you  will  soon  deserve  it. 
You  are  planning  some  mischief  right  now,'  I  chal- 
lenged, 'I  see  it  in  your  eyes.'  'Yes,'  dimpled  Mary, 
'I  am  going  to  insist  that  Monsieur  Giron  made  that 
cake;  then,  when  Aunt  Chaney  flies  into  one  of  her 
fierce  rages  and  bangs  the  pans  and  kettles  and  orders 
me  out  of  her  kitchen  I  am  going  to  give  her  the  red 
and  yellow  bandanna  head  handkerchief  I  bought  for 
her  and  tell  her  that  Monsieur  Giron  with  all  his  icing 
and  spicing  could  not  make  a  cake  half  so  "confection- 
ery" as  hers.  Aunt  Chaney  will  fairly  eat  me  up  for 
praising  her  cake  so  highly,/    'Then,'  she  continued, 


48  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

warming  to  her  theme,  'I'll  tell  Mammy  that  I  always 
did  like  biggoty  Mr.  Fox  better  than  Br'er  Rabbit  and 
that  I  am  sure  the  devil  did  not  paint  his  tail  pea  green 
but  a  lovely  sunshiny  yellow  and  made  of  it  a  road 
leading  down  to  the  bad  place.  A  primrose  path  of 
ease  and  dalliance,  leading  to  abysmal  depths  of  sin 
and  sorrow.  Won't  Mammy  just  revel  in  that  combina- 
tion? It  would  not  surprise  me  if  she  quotes  it  to  the 
children  as  Holy  Writ' 

"As  we  drove  down  Main  Street  busily  chatting,  I 
noticed  an  old  white  man  shambling  along  the  side- 
walk. I  had  often  seen  him  before  on  the  streets  of  Lex- 
ington and  smiled  at  his  resemblance  to  a  scarecrow. 
The  old  fellow  boasted  that  he  and  Henry  Clay  were 
born  in  the  same  county  in  Virginia  and  that  he  and 
'Henry'  had  played  ball  together  when  they  were  chil- 
dren. Mary  suddenly  ordered  Nelson  to  stop.  'Old 
King  Solomon  !'  she  cried.  'Get  out  with  me,  Eliza- 
beth, we  must  not  pass  him  without  shaking  hands,  and 
I  know  he  needs  a  little  piece  of  money  for  tobacco.  I 
wish  I  could  give  him  a  cake  of  soap  instead,  if  it  would 
not  insult  him.'  Nelson,  who  was  scandalized  at  Miss 
Mary  and  Miss  Lizzie  getting  out  in  the  dust  to  shake 
hands  with  the  grotesque,  shambling  old  creature,  mut- 
tered loud  enough  for  us  to  to  hear,  'Shaking  hands 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  49 

with  every  old  po'  white  trash  dey  meets  on  de  road. 
I'm  gwine  to  tell  Miss  Betsy  quick  as  I  get  home.' 

"Mary  held  her  hand  out  to  old  Sol  who  took  it  gin- 
gerly. 'Howdy,  Miss  Mary,  you  ain't  never  too  proud 
to  speak  to  me.'  'Too  proud  to  speak  to  you!'  cried 
Mary.  'I  am  proud  when  you  speak  to  me!  I  will 
never  forget  last  summer  when  you  were  the  bravest 
man  in  town,  when  you  worked  night  and  day  digging, 
digging,  digging  the  graves  of  those  poor  people  who 
died  like  flies  of  the  cholera.  You  dug  the  graves  of 
some  of  my  best  friends.'  Her  eyes  were  brimming 
with  tears.    'You  were  not  afraid!    You  are  a  hero!' 

"Old  Sol  listened  with  a  furtive  air  of  embarrass- 
ment tinged  with  indifference.  His  face  brightened 
with  interest,  however,  and  he  pulled  at  his  disreputa- 
ble old  hat  when  Mary  handed  him  the  little  piece  of 
money  for  tobacco.  When  we  were  again  seated  in  the 
carriage  Mary  said,  'I  missed  you  terribly  last  sum- 
mer, Elizabeth,  but  you  were  certainly  lucky  not  to  be 
in  Lexington.  I  will  never,  never  forget  that  terrible 
time.  The  choking  fumes  of  the  tar  that  mother  made 
Nelson  burn  all  through  the  house,  the  lime  and  white- 
wash over  everything,  the  deadly  quiet  everywhere! 

"  'When  the  baby  cried  it  seemed  as  if  it  must  be 
heard  all  over  town.  Nothing  on  the  streets  but  the 
drivers  and  horses  of  the  dead-carts  piled  with  the  bod- 


50  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

ies  of  those  who  had  just  died,  the  relatives  of  the  dead 
being  too  frightened  to  make  decent  burial  clothes,  the 
poor  bodies  were  wrapped  in  sheets  and  blankets,  many 
of  them  just  as  they  were  dressed  when  the  plague 
caught  them.  Toward  the  last  not  even  coffins.  Father 
had  all  the  trunks  and  boxes  taken  out  of  the  attic  and 
hauled  to  "Cheapside"  to  be  given  to  the  people  who 
could  not  get  coffins.  Other  people  did  the  same  and 
still  so  very,  very  many  had  to  be  buried  in  trenches, 
just  dumped  in  like  old  dead  dogs. 

"  'They  would  not  let  us  eat  fruit  nor  vegetables,  just 
beaten  biscuits,  eggs,  and  boiled  milk  and  boiled  water 
and  both  always  tepid.  Elizabeth,  I  pledge  you  my 
word  I  was  actually  hungry.  Oh,  not  for  just  food  but 
for  something  different.  You  know  how  I  like  mulber- 
ries. I  begged  mother  so  hard  she  said  I  might  eat 
just  one — and  I  did — just  one  at  a  time,  but  the  time 
rolled  around  every  few  minutes  until  Aunt  Chaney 
caught  me  and  then  such  a  to  do!  Mother  sent  for  the 
doctor  posthaste,  and  Mammy  made  me  take  ipecac, 
the  great  emergency  medicine  in  our  family.  Mammy 
almost  had  to  hold  my  nose  to  make  me  take  it. 

"  'But  what  was  worse  than  all,  everybody  was 
frightened  half  to  death,  talking  in  whispers,  almost 
afraid  to  breathe,  and  poor,  brave  old  Sol  going  along 
as  if  nothing  terrible  was  happening,  just  doing  every- 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  51 

thing  he  could.  Oh,  Elizabeth,  I  am  so  ashamed  of 
myself!  Just  to  think,  two  years  ago  I  was  laughing 
at  him,  laughing  at  his  funny  old  clothes,  laughing  be- 
cause he,  a  white  man,  had  been  publicly  sold  as  a  vaga- 
bond to  an  old  negro  woman  for  thirty  cents.  Oh,  I 
was  an  unspeakable  little  beast,'  wept  Mary.  'I  can- 
not forgive  myself,  but' — smiling  at  me  through  her 
tears — 'it  was  a  lucky  bargain  for  the  old  darkey. 

"  'Every  evening  Sol  handed  her  his  day's  wages 
and,  of  course,  she  did  it  for  Sol's  own  good,  but  she 
never  handed  him  back  enough  to  get  on  a  real  good 
spree,'  and,  pensively,  'That  is  the  only  time  he  is  really 
happy,  but  think  of  the  poor,  ragged,  brave  old  soul 
being  sold  to  a  negro!  It's  all  wrong,  Elizabeth!'  she 
exclaimed  with  heat,  'this  selling  human  beings  into 
slavery;  think  of  our  selling  cross  old  Aunt  Chaney  or 
Mammy  or' — laying  her  hand  affectionately  on  Mary 
Jane's  knee,  seated  opposite, — 'or  foolish  little  Mary 
Jane,  or  any  one  of  our  servants.  I  love  them  all!  It 
would  break  my  heart.  I  would  feel  as  if  I  were  selling 
a  member  of  my  own  family.  Has  grandmother  [Mrs. 
Humphreys]  heard  from  John  yet?  Since  she  freed 
him,  educated  him  for  the  ministry  and  sent  him  to 
make  Scotch  Presbyterians  of  the  heathen  in  Liberia,  I 
think  he  ought  to  write  very  interesting  letters  home, 
but  perhaps  he  is  too  busy  teaching  the  Shorter  Cate- 


■-:  vc  ism 


,  .V-L 


52  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

chism  to  the  cannibals  in  the  jungles  of  Africa. — Good- 
ness !'  she  exclaimed,  her  eyes  widening  at  a  gruesome 
thought,  'they  eat  each  other  down  there,  Elizabeth, 
I  never  thought  of  it  before.    Oh  poor,  poor  John!' 

"Mary  was  like  this  always,  her  mood  changing  with 
every  new  thought.  Like  the  varying  patterns  made 
by  each  slight  turn  of  a  kaleidoscope,  her  face  expressed 
her  varying  moods,  with  eyes  half  closed  and  looking 
through  her  long  lashes  she  had  the  demure  shyness  of 
a  little  Quakeress,  but  presto!  they  now  gleamed  with 
mischief,  and  before  you  could  be  quite  sure  of  that, 
her  dimple  was  gone  and  her  eyes  were  brimful  of  tears. 
How  I  hated  to  see  her  go  back  to  school  on  Monday 
morning." 

"Mary  even  as  a  school  girl  in  her  gingham  dresses 
was  certainly  very  pretty,"  said  Elizabeth.  "She  had 
clear  blue  eyes,  long  lashes,  light  brown  hair  with  a 
glint  of  bronze,  and  a  lovely  complexion.  Her  figure 
was  beautiful  and  no  Old  Master  ever  modeled  a  more 
perfect  arm  and  hand." 

Many  years  ago  a  reporter  on  the  Louisville  Cour- 
ier-Journal wrote: 

"There  is  still  living  in  Louisville  an  old  lady  who 
for  four  years  was  a  fellow  pupil  of  Mary  Todd's  at 
Madame  Mentelle's  school  for  young  ladies,  at  that 
time  the  most  exclusive  establishment  of  the  kind  in  the 


M 


' 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  53 

State  of  Kentucky.  'Mary  Todd,'  said  this  old  lady, 
'was  one  of  the  brightest  girls  in  Madame  Mentelle's 
school,  always  had  the  highest  marks  and  took  the  big- 
gest prizes.  French  was  the  language  of  the  school  and 
Mary  spoke  it  as  fluently  as  did  Madame  herself. 
.  .  .  She  was  a  merry,  companionable  girl  with  a 
smile  for  everybody.  She  was  really  the  life  of  the 
school,  always  ready  for  a  good  time  and  willing  to 
contribute  even  more  than  her  own  share  in  promot- 
ing it." 

Elizabeth  writes:  "At  different  times  French  gen- 
tlemen came  to  the  University  to  study  English,  and 
when  one  was  fortunate  enough  to  meet  Mary,  he  was 
surprised  and  delighted  to  find  her  a  fluent  conversa- 
tionalist in  his  own  language.  It  was  also  at  Madame 
Mentelle's  that  Mary  learned  to  dance  so  gracefully. 
The  class  was  not  allowed  to  receive  visitors,  so  to  en- 
liven the  evenings  Monsieur  Mentelle  would  take  his 
violin,  while  Madame  Mentelle  and  her  two  accom- 
plished daughters  would  take  their  pupils  on  the  floor 
and  respond  to  his  music  in  the  dance.  In  after  years 
it  remained  her  favorite  amusement  and  the  aristocratic 
society  of  Lexington  afforded  her  ample  opportunity 
for  the  indulgence  of  the  pastime." 

Mrs.  Todd  was  delicate  and  the  water  of  Crab  Or- 
chard Springs  had  been  ordered  by  her  doctor.     A 


54  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

great  many  wealthy  people  from  all  over  the  State  and 
from  many  parts  of  the  South  came  with  their  entire 
families  to  Crab  Orchard  Springs  in  Kentucky.  Mrs. 
Todd  frequently  met  there  the  family  of  her  brother, 
Alexander  Humphreys  of  New  Orleans,  and  her  pretty 
nieces  went  home  with  her  to  stay  in  Kentucky  until 
frost  made  it  safe  for  them  to  return  South. 

The  little  Todds  looked  forward  with  greater  excite- 
ment to  their  annual  short  stay  at  Crab  Orchard  Springs 
than  the  modern  child  would  feel  at  the  prospect  of 
a  trip  to  Europe.  The  bustle  of  preparation ;  the  piles 
of  fresh  little  muslin  dresses;  the  carriages  filled  with 
children  and  babies  and  nurses,  for  only  the  older  boys, 
who  objected  to  going,  were  left  at  home;  the  long 
drive;  the  meeting  with  old  friends  and  acquaintances; 
the  new  arrivals  each  day  driving  up  in  state  with 
jingling  harness  and  prancing  horses;  the  finely  dressed 
ladies  stepping  mincingly  down  the  carriage  steps  in 
mortal  dread  of  showing  their  ankles ;  the  beaux  flock- 
ing around  to  greet  those  they  knew  and  perchance  to 
gain  a  fleeting  glimpse  of  those  same  carefully  guarded 
ankles.  The  negro  fiddlers,  the  candlelight  flickering 
from  innumerable  sconces  over  the  bright,  filmy  ball 
dresses  of  the  belles,  and  the  courtly  bowing  and  scrap- 
ing of  the  beaux. 

Mary,  after  the  marriage  of  Frances  Todd  was  the 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  $5 

eldest  of  the  Todd  daughters  left  at  home,  and  in 
Mary's  appearance,  in  her  wit,  her  savoir  faire  and 
exquisite  manner;  her  graceful  dancing,  which  even  as 
a  little  schoolgirl  made  her  a  desirable  partner,  Mrs. 
Todd  took  a  very  pardonable  pride,  for  since  Mary  was 
a  romping  "tomboy"  of  eight  years  she  had  trained  her 
in  all  the  social  graces. 

Mary  was  very  vivacious  and  at  eighteen  she  and 
Elizabeth  were  popular  belles.  They  received  their 
visitors  in  the  parlor  together.  Said  Elizabeth: 
"Among  them  were  many  scholarly,  intellectual  men; 
but  Mary  never  at  any  time  showed  the  least  partiality 
for  any  one  of  them.  Indeed,  at  times,  her  face  indi- 
cated a  decided  lack  of  interest  and  she  accepted  their 
attention  without  enthusiasm.  Without  meaning  to 
wound,  she  now  and  then  could  not  restrain  a  witty,  sar- 
castic speech  that  cut  deeper  than  she  intended,  for 
there  was  no  malice  in  her  heart.  She  was  impulsive 
and  made  no  attempt  to  conceal  her  feeling;  indeed, 
that  would  have  been  impossible,  for  her  face  was  an 
index  to  every  passing  emotion. 

"Mary  found  much  difficulty  in  getting  along 
smoothly  with  an  Episcopal  student  of  theology,  who 
was  a  tutor  in  the  Todd  family.  With  all  of  Mary's 
efforts  to  be  agreeable,  there  was  nothing  but  discord 
between  them.    Having  an  ill-grounded  and  unjust  sus- 


S6  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

picion  that  she  was  on  all  occasions  laughing  at  him, 

or  trying  to  insult  him,  he  waged  a  war  without  cause." 

Mr.  Todd  was  frequently  absent  on  business,  and 
Mrs.  Todd  by  reason  of  illness  unable  to  come  to  the 
dining  room.  "One  morning  on  such  an  occasion 
[writes  Elizabeth]  Mary  and  I  went  to  the  breakfast 
room.    Mary  took  her  seat  at  the  head  of  the  table  and 

Mr. ,  the  young  tutor,  took  the  seat  at  the  foot,  I 

on  the  other  side.  Grace  was  said  with  due  reverence 
and  then  we  commenced  with  keen  appetites  on  the 
feast  of  good  things  before  us.  We  had  some  remark- 
ably fine  maple  syrup.    Mary  helped  me  and  offered 

some  to  Mr. -with  the  remark  that  she  understood 

the  Yankees  always  ate  molasses  with  everything.  It 
was  the  word  'Yankee,'  I  suppose,  that  raised  the 
storm.  He  was  greatly  irritated.  With  a  black  frown 
and  rolling  his  R's  more  than  usual,  he  spoke  with 
great  emphasis.  'Miss  Mary,'  he  said,  'there  is  a  point 
beyond  endurance  which  I  cannot  and  will  not  stand.' 

"Mary  was,  you  must  remember,  one  of  a  large  fam- 
ily of  boys  and  girls  who  jested  much  and  seized  on 
the  slightest  pretext  to  tease  each  other  unmercifully. 
The  young  tutor  looked  so  fierce  and  his  wrath  so  great 
to  have  been  occasioned  by  such  a  small  amount  of  teas- 
ing, and  the  scene  was  so  ludicrous  to  Mary  that  she 
leaned  back  in  her  chair  and  laughed  so  merrily  and 


MARY,  WIFE  OE  LINCOLN  57 

contagiously  that  even  Mr. 's  anger  was  dissipated 

and  he  joined  in  our  laughter.  The  laughter  acted  like 
a  charm  and  the  rest  of  that  day  we  three  sailed  on  a 
calm  sea  of  good  humor." 

Mary  was  very  fond  of  horseback  riding.  She  and 
her  cousin  Margaret  Stuart  often  were  seen  cantering 
through  Lexington.  It  was  before  the  day  of  cross- 
saddles  for  women  but  they  had  perfect  balance  on 
their  sidesaddles.  They  wore  plumes  in  their  hats 
sweeping  to  their  shoulders  and  long  skirts  which 
whipped  in  the  wind  with  the  quick  stride  of  their  fine- 
bred,  spirited  Kentucky  horses.  Often  there  would  be 
quite  a  cavalcade  of  young  people  galloping  out  to 
some  party  in  the  country. 


CHAPTER   IV 


ILLINOIS  BECKONS 


HpHE  siren  voice  of  Illinois  had  for  years  been  en- 
chanting  Kentucky.  There  had  been  such  an 
exodus  to  the  Prairie  State  that  by  1836  Illinois  was 
two-thirds  composed  of  Kentuckians.  Mary  Todd, 
now  eighteen  and  just  finished  at  Madame  Mentelle's 
school,  heard  this  siren  call  through  an  invitation  to 
visit  her  two  sisters,  Mrs.  Ninian  Edwards  and  Mrs. 
William  Wallace. 

Mary,  on  this  first  visit  to  Springfield,  found  herself 
by  no  means  a  stranger  in  the  midst  of  a  delightful  so- 
ciety of  cultured,  intellectual  people,  among  the  most 
prominent  of  whom  were  members  of  her  own  family. 
Here  were  many  aspiring  young  men,  politically  am- 
bitious. Everywhere  there  was  a  Western  breeziness 
and  stir — surroundings  delightful  to  Mary,  just  ar- 
rived from  a  quiet,  sleepy  town  jogging  along  in  its 
sureness  of  fine  schools,  acres  of  magnificent  cultivated 
blue-grass  farms,  handsome  houses,  a  settled  social  life, 
contentment,  peace,  and  plenty.  No  need  for  stir  or 
excitement. 

Mary,  full  of  life  and  animation,  was  a  great  toast 
among  her  kinspeople  who  met  her  with  open  arms  and 

58 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  59 

vied  with  each  other  in  entertaining  her.  All  of  them 
wanted  to  hear  Lexington  news  told  in  Mary's  own 
spicy  fashion.  She,  fresh,  young,  and  enthusiastic,  was 
an  ardent  Whig  like  themselves,  and  could  tell  them 
the  latest  gossip  of  all  the  politicians  in  Kentucky.  She 
gave  her  own  views  with  vigor  on  the  subject  of  sla- 
very. She  said  that  her  stepmother  agreed  with  her, 
indeed,  that  all  the  Humphreys  believed,  like  Henry 
Clay,  in  the  gradual  emancipation  of  the  slaves,  and 
the  preservation  of  the  Union  by  compromises  on  its 
extension.  She  was  interesting  to  old  and  young  alike. 
To  the  older  ones  she  showed  a  mature,  cultivated 
mind,  and  among  the  younger  and  more  frivolous  ones 
her  beautiful  clothes  and  graceful  dancing  made  her 
an  object  of  interest  and  pride. 

Not  only  Scotch  but  Southern,  the  Todds  with  the 
Stuarts  and  other  connections  by  marriage,  formed  in 
Springfield  a  veritable  clan  in  loyalty  and  mutual  af- 
fection. 

Dr.  John  Todd,  a  brother  of  Robert  Smith  Todd, 
was  a  practicing  physician.  His  two  daughters,  Eliza- 
beth and  Fanny,  were  about  Mary's  age  and  became  her 
life-long  friends :  Elizabeth  Todd  became  the  wife  of 
Mr.  Grimsley,  and,  after  his  death,  of  the  Reverend 
John  H.  Brown;  and  Fanny  married  Thomas  Shelby, 
grandson  of  Isaac  Shelby,  first  governor  of  Kentucky. 


60  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

John  Todd  Stuart,  her  first  cousin,  lived  in  Spring- 
field with  his  family  of  six  children.  He  had  moved 
there  after  his  admission  to  the  bar  at  the  age  of  twenty- 
one,  and  at  once  became  prominent  in  his  profession. 
He  was  the  recognized  leader  of  the  Whig  party  in  his 
adopted  State,  serving  three  terms  in  Congress, — the 
first  two  terms  as  a  Whig,  the  last  term  in  1862  as  a 
Democrat. 

It  was  John  Todd  Stuart  who  persuaded  Lincoln  to 
study  law.  Judge  David  Davis,  of  the  United  States 
Supreme  Court,  in  an  address  on  Abraham  Lincoln 
before  the  Illinois  Bar  Association,  says: 

"The  part  which  Stuart  took  in  shaping  Lincoln's 
destiny  is  not  generally  known  outside  the  circle  of  their 
immediate  friends.  They  lodged  at  the  same  house  and 
occupied  the  same  bed  during  the  session  of  the  Leg- 
islature (at  Vandalia).  Both  were  Whigs  in  politics 
and  trusted  friends,  and  each  esteemed  aright  the  abili- 
ties of  the  other.  Both  were  honest  men,  with  deep 
convictions,  and  were  appreciated  by  their  fellow  mem- 
bers. The  one  was  liberally  educated  and  a  lawyer,  the 
other  uneducated  and  engaged  in  the  humble  occupa- 
tion of  land  surveyor. 

"Stuart  saw  at  once  that  there  must  be  a  change  of 
occupation  to  give  Lincoln  a  fair  start  in  life,  and  that 
the  study  and  practice  of  law  were  necessary  to  stimu- 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  61 

late  his  ambition  and  develop  his  faculties.  When  the 
subject  was  introduced  it  appeared  that  Lincoln  had 
never  entertained  the  idea  of  becoming  a  lawyer,  and 
stated  difficulties  which  he  deemed  insurmountable. 
These  Stuart  overcame,  and  Lincoln  agreed  to  give  the 
matter  thoughtful  consideration.  The  result  was  that 
he  yielded  to  Stuart's  solicitations,  and  read  law  at  his 
country  home,  some  distance  from  Springfield,  under 
the  direction  of  Stuart,  and  with  books  loaned  by  him 
for  the  purpose.  On  Lincoln's  admission  to  the  bar 
Stuart  formed  a  partnership  with  him,  which  con- 
tinued, I  think,  until  Stuart  went  to  Congress. 

"Every  lawyer  and  every  thoughtful  and  intelligent 
person  can  readily  see  the  influence  which  the  choice 
of  the  legal  profession  had  on  Lincoln's  life." 

Lincoln  had  served  in  the  Black  Hawk  War  with 
Major  John  T.  Stuart,  and  there  they  had  formed  the 
tie  made  by  fellow  soldiers  who  had  been  companions 
through  suspense,  hardship,  and  danger.  Many  men 
who  later  entered  prominently  into  Lincoln's  life  were 
in  the  Black  Hawk  War,  with  him.  There  were  Jef- 
ferson Davis,  a  Kentuckian  by  birth  who  was  to  be 
President  of  the  Southern  Confederacy;  General  Rob- 
ert Anderson,  later  commander  of  the  Federal  garrison 
fired  upon  at  Fort  Sumter;  Colonel  Zachary  Taylor; 


62  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

General  Winfield  Scott,  and  Lieutenant  Albert  Sidney 

Johnston,  afterwards  a  Confederate  general. 

Stuart,  just  before  Mary  came  to  Springfield,  had 
formed  a  law  partnership  with  Lincoln.  Mary,  who 
was  hearing  many  stories  of  the  new  law  partner,  felt 
that  if  "Cousin  John,"  a  man  whom  she  admired  next 
to  her  father  and  Henry  Clay,  had  selected  this  close 
associate  he  must  be  the  same  order  of  man  as  her 
cousin. 

But  the  stories  from  various  sources  were  so  conflict- 
ing. He  was  uncouth — and  moody;  he  was  sad — and 
could  make  men  weep.  Groups  of  his  cronies  were  con- 
vulsed with  laughter  at  his  irresistibly  funny  and  pat 
anecdotes — he  was  shy  and  sometimes  dull  in  society. 
Large  audiences  were  thrilled  by  his  statesmanlike  elo- 
quence— he  was  only  a  log-rolling  politician.  He  was 
clean  shaven  and  his  linen  was  immaculate — he  often 
wore  jeans  and  was  careless  of  his  personal  appearance. 

These  were  the  opinions  Mary  heard  from  her  older 
friends  and  relatives.  The  young  people  declared  that 
while  Lincoln  cared  less  for  sociey  than  for  law  and 
politics,  he  was  as  well  dressed  as  any  other  man,  wear- 
ing satin  vest,  stock,  and  broadcloth  to  parties  and  co- 
tillions, entering  into  social  life  with  good-natured 
enthusiasm,  although  he  cared  little  for  dancing.  Some 
of  the  girls  pronounced  him  awkward  and  shy,  others 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  63 

said  he  was  homely  but  perfectly  at  ease.  The  young 
men  reported  that  at  times  he  avoided  company  and 
went  off  into  the  country  by  himself,  notably  at  the  time 
of  his  admission  to  the  bar,  a  time  when  a  successful 
aspirant  is  wont  to  keep  himself  in  evidence.  They 
said  that  he  was  the  center  of  every  gathering  of  men 
interested  in  politics;  that  while  he  sought  the  com- 
pany of  older  men,  he  and  a  few  of  his  associates  were 
forming  a  lyceum  of  young  men  to  discuss  the  political 
problems  of  the  day. 

What  was  Mary  to  think? 

It  was  Mr.  Stuart  who  gave  her  an  insight  into  Lin- 
coln's real  character.  She  heard  him  tell,  at  a  family 
gathering,  of  Lincoln's  amusing  blunders  in  the  Black 
Hawk  War;  of  how,  when  he  could  not  remember  the 
word  of  command  "to  get  his  company  endwise,"  he 
loudly  shouted:  "This  company  is  dismissed  for  two 
minutes,  when  it  will  fall  in  again  on  the  other  side  of 
the  gate." 

He  told,  too,  how  Lincoln  suffered  a  disgrace  on 
account  of  the  lawlessness  of  the  privates  of  his  com- 
pany who  unknown  to  him,  their  captain,  had  stolen 
a  quantity  of  whisky  and  were  too  drunk  to  fall  in  when 
the  order  was  given  to  march.  For  this  misdemeanor 
they  were  punished  vicariously  by  Lincoln's  superior 
officer  ordering  him  to  wear  a  wooden  sword  for  two 


64  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

days,  much  to  his  embarrassment.  Mary  laughed  de- 
lightedly at  the  anecdote,  but  with  a  slight  gesture  of 
contempt  for  the  ignorant  young  backwoodsman. 

Noting  her  feelings,  Stuart  launched  into  a  panegyric 
of  Lincoln's  intellect.  Mary  idolized  intellect.  He 
told  her  how  quickly  Lincoln  had  mastered  the  science 
of  law;  how  keen  and  honest  his  insight  into  matters 
of  right  and  wrong;  how  unerring  his  judgment;  how 
quick-witted  he  proved  himself  in  quoting  sentences 
applicable  to  a  particular  case  from  the  Bible,  Shakes- 
peare, Robert  Burns,  or  other  authors  he  had  absorbed 
and  made  his  own ;  how  surprisingly  he  had  mastered 
the  English  language  and  how  clearly,  forcibly  and 
eloquently  he  expressed  his  thought.  Then  with  a  note 
of  tenderness  Stuart  described  the  dignity  and  nobility 
of  his  partner  in  defending  the  just  cause  of  a  poor  and 
ignorant  man.  He  told  of  his  scorn  for  an  ignoble  ac- 
tion and  of  his  scathing  ridicule  of  a  political  dema- 
gogue in  the  opposition,  making  the  audience  roar  with 
laughter  and  converting  their  sympathies  and  votes  to 
his  own  side. 

Mary's  brothers-in-law,  William  Wallace  and  Nin- 
ian  Edwards,  also  had  many  stories  to  tell.  Her 
"Cousin  Steve"  (Stephen  T.  Logan),  in  talking  to  her 
of  Lincoln,  declared  he  had  the  physical  strength  of  a 
giant.    Once,  when  a  fight  broke  out  in  Lincoln's  au- 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  6y 

dience  and  one  of  his  supporters  was  being  worsted,  he 
stepped  down  from  the  platform  and  threw  the  quar- 
relsome "enemy"  some  ten  or  twelve  feet,  then  non- 
chalantly stepped  back  on  the  platform  and  resumed 
his  speech  as  if  nothing  had  happened.  He  told  her 
that  during  the  session  of  the  Ninth  Assembly,  in  Van- 
dalia,  and  at  the  extra  session  called  in  December,  1835, 
when  he  and  Lincoln  were  fellow  legislators,  his  ac- 
quaintance with  Lincoln  had  crystallized  into  a  firm 
friendship.  He  had  found  Lincoln  modest,  unaffected 
and  simple  in  manner,  and  honest,  candid,  and  shrewd 
in  politics. 

"Last  summer,"  he  continued,  uto  illustrate  Lincoln's 
shrewdness,  he  had  to  answer  a  personal  attack  when 
electioneering.  One  of  his  rival  candidates  stated  pub- 
licly that  if  facts  in  his  possession  were  known  to  the 
public  Lincoln  would  lose  his  chance  of  success  at  the 
polls.  Lincoln  answered  his  mysterious  accuser  thus: 
"No  one  [he  wrote  his  rival]  has  needed  favors  more 
than  I,  and  generally  few  have  been  less  unwilling  to 
accept  them;  but  in  this  case  favor  to  me  would  be 
injustice  to  the  public  and  therefore  I  must  beg  your 
pardon  for  declining  it.  That  I  once  had  the  confi- 
dence of  the  people  of  Sangamon  County  is  sufficiently 
evident;  and  if  I  have  done  anything,  either  by  design 
or  misadventure,  which  if  known  would  subject  me  to 


66  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

a  forfeiture  of  that  confidence,  he  that  knows  of  that 

thing  and  conceals  it  is  a  traitor  to  his  country's  interest. 

"I  find  myself  wholly  unable  to  form  any  conjecture 
of  what  fact  or  facts,  real  or  supposed,  you  spoke,  but 
my  opinion  of  your  veracity  will  not  permit  me  for  a 
moment  to  doubt  that  you  at  least  believed  what  you 
said.  I  am  flattered  with  the  personal  regard  you  mani- 
fested for  me;  but  I  do  hope  that  on  mature  reflection 
you  will  view  the  public  interest  as  a  paramount  con- 
sideration and  therefore  let  the  worst  come." 

Even  her  "Cousin  Stephen"  was  satisfied  at  Mary's 
appreciation  of  the  crushing  candor  in  this  note;  but 
she  wanted  to  meet  this  man  and  judge  for  herself.  An 
uneducated  backwoodsman  had  won  the  golden  opinion 
of  her  able  and  cultured  relatives  and  friends,  what  a 
phenomenon!  But  where  was  this  man  most  of  all 
spoken  of,  where  was  Abraham  Lincoln,  whose  name 
and  stories  were  eternally  on  the  lips  of  all  the  people 
of  Springfield? 

Mary's  curiosity  grew  keener  each  day,  but  its  grati- 
fication was  doomed  to  disappointment.  That  she  did 
not  meet  Abraham  Lincoln  during  this  three  months' 
visit  is  not  surprising.  He  must  have  had  little  time  for 
society.  He  had  just  formed  his  first  law  partnership. 
He  was  a  member  of  the  Tenth  Assembly  and  they 
were  feverishly  planning  internal  improvements  which 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  67 

they  hoped  would  place  Illinois  on  a  par  with  New 
York — railroads,  canals,  river  improvements,  bridges 
— planning  ways  and  means  to  finance  all  these  schemes. 
The  Whigs  had  won  a  victory  over  the  Democrats  in 
having  the  capitol  moved  from  Vandalia  to  Spring- 
field. The  Democrats  claimed  trickery  and  chicanery, 
so  an  extra  session  was  called  in  the  summer  at  Van- 
dalia, and  Lincoln  had  a  bitter  fight  with  L.  D.  Ewing 
who  wanted  to  keep  the  capitol  at  Vandalia.  All  this 
Mary  heard  with  keen  interest  and  excitement. 

Mary  met  at  this  time  another  one  of  Lincoln's  inti- 
mate associates  and  friends,  John  J.  Hardin,  a  Ken- 
tuckian  who  had  adopted  Illinois  and  had  many  stories 
to  tell  Mary  of  the  young  politician. 

Mary  recalled  to  Hardin's  mind  a  letter  he  had  writ- 
ten in  1830  to  her  relative,  Robert  W.  Scott,  of  Frank- 
fort, Kentucky.  This  letter  which  was  of  much  interest 
to  the  Todds  was  sent  to  one  and  then  another  of  the 
family,  and  Mary,  who  was  twelve  years  old  at  the 
time,  remembered  hearing  her  father  read  it  aloud  to 
her  stepmother. 

The  letter  was  written  from  Jacksonville,  September 
24,  1830. 

"Dear  Scott: 

"Our  country  at  present  is  swarming  with  travellers.  It 
appears  as  if  the  flood  gates  of  Kentucky  had  broken  loose, 


68  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

and  her  population  set  free  had  naturally  turned  their 
course  to  Illinois  and  Missouri.  From  the  numbers  already 
arrived,  and  the  reports  they  bring,  added  to  the  knowledge 
we  have  of  those  on  the  road,  it  seems  probable  that  the 
immigration  will  be  greater  this  fall.  Jacksonville  is  on 
the  most  direct  route  from  Louisville  to  Palmyra,  Mo., 
we  therefore  see  a  great  number  who  are  on  the  road  to 
that  place.  In  nine  cases  out  of  ten  they  remark  that  if 
they  could  bring  their  negroes  here  they  would  go  no  fur- 
ther. There  are  a  great  many  instances  of  persons  who 
after  travelling  through  Mo.  and  then  coming  here  on  their 
return  resolved  not  to  go  to  Mo.,  nor  will  they  come  here, 
as  this  is  a  free  State.  By  which  means  you  retain  many  of 
your  Kentucky  population.  The  great  objection  to  trav- 
ellers to  this  country  is  the  scarcity  of  timber.  Being  accus- 
tomed to  land  all  covered  over  with  timber  they  view  a 
prairie  as  a  barren  waste.  Since  my  first  residence  here 
my  opinions  have  undergone  considerable  change.  Then  I 
looked  at  this  country  much  as  they  do  now,  but  from  my 
knowledge  of  facts  and  the  experience  of  older  men  the 
conclusion  come  to  is,  that  there  is  timber  enough.  .  .  . 
"Our  society  is  composed  of  every  nation,  tribe  and 
kindred.  We  have  a  considerable  English  Colony  settled 
in  one  of  the  finest  parts  of  the  country,  ten  or  twelve 
families  arrived  this  summer  direct  from  England  and  who 
started  for  this  place.  These  with  those  we  had  before 
will  make  40  or  50  families  The  population  of  the  county 
is  about  two-thirds  Kentuckian,  many  of  them  men  of 
standing  and  wealth  in  Kentucky.    The  offices  however  are 


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MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  69 

nearly  all  held  by  Eastern  people.  This  is  the  reason  given. 
Edwards  when  sent  here  as  territorial  governor,  supposing 
it  was  a  free  state  it  would  be  settled  by  western  people, 
to  keep  them  in  favor  appointed  eastern  men  for  judges  etc., 
these  appointed  their  clerks  of  the  same  stamp.  ...  In 
Jacksonville  we  have  some  very  intelligent  and  decent 
Yankees  who  are  an  addition  to  our  society  or  rather  they 
form  a  society  for  themselves,  for  in  truth  there  is  no  great 
social  intercourse  between  them  and  the  Kentuckians.  It  is 
surprising  however  how  fast  we  are  improving  our  society 
by  well  informed  Kentuckians  settling  amongst  us.  Many 
families  have  come  in  since  I  did.  General  Duncan  our 
member  to  Congress  has  purchased  him  a  farm  on  the  edge 
of  town  and  has  moved  to  it. 

"Concerning  the  great  and  important  matter  of  girls,  it 
is  not  in  my  power  to  boast  much.  We  have  some  sprightly 
ladies  in  town  though  they  are  few  and  indeed  when  this 
state  is  compared  to  yours  in  that  respect  it  falls  short 
indeed.  I  think  it  would  improve  if  it  were  not  for  one 
reason,  the  girls  get  married  so  soon  there  is  no  time  for 
improvement.  Enterprising  young  men  are  numerous  and 
when  they  have  entered  their  land  they  want  wives,  and 
will  have  them.  It  has  occurred  to  me  that  a  considerable 
speculation  might  be  made  by  a  qualified  person  who  would 
bring  out  a  cargo  of  the  ladies.  You  recollect  in  the  first 
settlement  of  Virginia  a  cargo  of  that  description  was 
brought  in  and  sold  for  150  pounds  of  tobacco  per  head. 
If  they  should  be  landed  here  shortly  they  might  command 
in  market  at  least  several  head  of  cattle  apiece.     Besides  it 


70  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

would  be  a  very  great  accommodation  to  many  young  ladies 
of  my  acquaintance  who  have  been  a  long  time  trying  to 
make  an  equal  swap  but  as  yet  have  not  succeeded.  Please 
give  this  matter  an  attentive  consideration. 

"The  important  question  whether  I  would  advise  other 
young  men  to  come  here,  must  now  be  considered.  There 
are  a  certain  description  of  young  men  who  ought  never  to 
leave  their  mothers'  apron  strings  and  who  know  not  how 
to  conduct  themselves  when  abroad  but  whine  and  talk 
about  home  as  tho'  there  was  no  other  place  decent  people 
could  live.  These  have  no  business  here.  Another  class 
with  talent  and  no  energy  in  a  short  time  become  dissat- 
isfied— they  need  the  fostering  hand  of  encouragement  and 
flattery  and  for  such  there  is  no  place  here.  .  .  .  There  is 
still  another  class,  my  friend,  who  are  willing  to  take 
things  as  they  find  them,  to  think  of  home  as  a  hallowed 
spot  yet  not  contrast  it  with  a  county  six  years  old  and  not 
yet  populated.  ...  If  there  are  any  such  as  these  in 
your  knowledge  give  them  all  encouragement  to  come  here. 
My  love  to  the  girls  and  tell  them,  bless  their  hearts,  I 
should  like  to  see  a  cargo  shortly.   .  .  . 

Your  friend, 

John  J.  Hardin." 

Mary  laughingly  quoted  the  last  sentence  in  Hardin's 
letter  which  she  had  remembered  for  six  years.  "Well, 
little  cousin,"  said  Hardin,  "while  you  are  one  of  a 
belated  cargo,  you  are  not  too  late  to  help  some  poor 
fellow  fight  the  battle  of  life." 


CHAPTER   V 

A  KENTUCKY  GIANT 

TPON  Mary's  return  home  from  the  Illinois  capi- 
^^  tal  her  father  expressed  a  wish  that  she  should 
accept  an  invitation  to  visit  his  brother's  family  in 
Columbia,  Missouri.  But  Mary,  again  at  home,  was 
having  too  good  a  time  to  wish  to  leave  at  once.  She 
must  see  all  her  friends  first,  she  must  cuddle  all  her 
little  sisters,  and  brothers.  Then,  a  round  of  family 
dinners  and  parties  behind  her,  Mary  with  a  rejuve- 
nated wardrobe  started  on  her  journey,  not  to  Missouri, 
but  to  Illinois,  for  her  sisters  had  been  besieging  her 
with  letters  to  come  back  to  Springfield  for  a  longer 
visit  and  Mary,  nothing  loath,  had  begged  to  be  al- 
lowed to  do  so.  At  first  she  met  with  a  refusal  from 
her  parents,  but  Mary  came  of  pioneer  people  who 
would  have  been  swallowed  up  in  the  wilderness  if  they 
had  not  been  dominant,  willful,  and  determined  and 
these  traits,  which  she  fully  inherited,  finally  gained 
her  point. 

There  was  no  quarrel  with  her  stepmother  as  certain 
biographers  state;  but  truth  to  tell,  the  stir  and  excite- 
ment of  the  young  capital  had  fired  Mary's  imagina- 
tion.   So,  gaining  the  consent  of  her  parents  in  1839, 

71 


72  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

she  went  to  Springfield  on  a  prolonged  visit  to  her 
sister,  Mrs.  Ninian  Edwards.  There,  soon  after  her 
arrival,  Mary,  under  the  wing  of  Mrs.  Edwards,  made 
her  first  appearance  at  a  cotillion.  The  scene  was  bril- 
liant enough  to  have  pleased  Mary  had  she  been  only 
an  onlooker.  The  girls  in  their  flowerlike  frocks,  the 
soft  bursts  of  laughter,  the  many  gleaming  candles  cast- 
ing long  wavering  lines  of  light  across  the  polished 
floor,  the  cadenced  strains  of  a  waltz  making  dreamy 
accompaniment  to  the  gliding  feet  of  the  dancers.  The 
beaux  who  remembered  Mary  flocked  around  her,  im- 
portuning her  for  the  first  dance.  As  she  slowly  circled 
the  room  her  attention  was  attracted  by  the  appearance 
of  a  tall,  spare,  but  powerfully  built  man,  in  earnest 
conversation  with  her  brother-in-law.  His  face  was  a 
fascinating  combination  of  poetic  mysticism,  earnest 
purpose,  and  quaint  humor.  Just  the  kind  of  strength 
and  ruggedness,  too,  that  had  attracted  Mary  when  as 
a  little  girl  she  had  declared  "Henry  Clay  is  the  hand- 
somest man  in  town." 

"Who  is  that  man?"  she  asked  with  some  excitement 
in  her  voice,  losing  for  the  moment  her  little  Southern 
drawl.  She  had  already  divined  that  he  must  be  the 
much  talked  of  Lincoln. 

Their  eyes  met.  His  with  a  searching,  appraising 
glance.     Shyly  Mary  glanced  at  him  through  half- 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  73 

closed  eyes.  Her  heart  beat  a  little  faster  and  the  faint 
wild  rose  in  her  cheeks  deepened. 

Mary,  although  not  strictly  beautiful,  was  more  than 
pretty.  She  had  a  broad  white  forehead,  eyebrows 
sharply  but  delicately  marked,  a  straight  nose,  short 
upper  lip  and  an  expressive  mouth  curling  into  an 
adorable  slow  coming  smile  that  brought  dimples  into 
her  cheeks  and  glinted  in  her  long-lashed,  blue  eyes. 
Those  eyes,  shaded  by  their  long,  silky  fringe,  gave  an 
impression  of  dewy  violet  shyness  contradicted  fasci- 
natingly by  the  spirited  carriage  of  her  head.  She  was 
vital,  brilliant,  witty,  and  well  trained  in  all  the  social 
graces  from  earliest  childhood.  She  could  now,  with- 
out rebuke,  wear  the  coveted  hoop  skirts  of  her  childish 
desire,  and  with  skirts  frosted  with  lace  and  ruffles  she 
ballooned  and  curtsied  in  the  lovely  embroidered 
French  Swisses  and  muslins  brought  up  to  her  from 
New  Orleans  by  her  father. 

In  stockings  and  slippers  to  match  the  color  of  her 
gown,  all  pink  and  white,  she  danced  and  swayed  as 
lightly  and  gayly  as  a  branch  of  fragrant  apple  blos- 
soms in  a  gentle  spring  breeze.  From  her  pink  dim- 
pled cheeks  to  her  sophisticated  pink  satin  slippers,  she 
was  a  fascinating,  alluring  creature,  and  Abraham  Lin- 
coln in  his  black  satin  waistcoat  and  high  black  satin 
stock  was  himself  no  mean  figure  of  fashion.     As  a 


74  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

young  man  he  looked  the  poet  that  he  really  was  at 

heart. 

His  gray  eyes  lighted  with  interest  as  he  watched 
Mary's  animated,  piquant  face  and  caught  little  snatch- 
ing glimpses  of  satin  slipper  straps  and  gleaming  silk- 
clad  ankles  under  billowing  masses  of  lace  and  organdy, 
as  her  hoops  swayed  in  rhythm  to  the  waltz  music.  Al- 
though he  cared  little  for  dancing,  preferring  to  look 
on  or  talk  to  some  of  the  more  agreeable  older  members 
of  an  assemblage,  he  could  not  resist  this  bewitching 
creature  and  on  being  presented  to  her,  he  said : 

"Miss  Todd,  I  want  to  dance  with  you  the  worst 
way." 

And  Mary,  with  a  roguish  smile  and  a  twinkle  in 
her  eyes,  said  after  the  party  in  recounting  the  incident 
to  her  cousin  Elizabeth  Todd,  "And  he  certainly  did." 

Though  Mary  did  not  dance  again  that  evening  with 
Mr.  Lincoln  she  felt  his  eyes  were  following  her  and 
when  during  an  intermission  she  saw  him  making  a 
bee  line  in  her  direction,  she  promptly,  too  promptly, 
held  her  program  out  that  he  might  see  for  himself 
that  it  was  filled  to  overflowing.  She  did  not  wish 
again  to  put  in  jeopardy  her  little  pink  satin  slippers. 
But  the  dimple  in  her  cheek  seemed  to  say,  "I  am 
sorry." 

Mr.  Lincoln  made  an  appointment  to  call  the  follow- 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  75 

ing  evening,  a  scintillating  exchange  of  wit  and  humor 
passing  between  them.  It  pleased  him  that  she  under- 
stood and  discussed  politics  with  subtle  discernment. 
From  that  time  they  were  on  all  occasions  drawn  irre- 
sistibly together.  They  discovered  new  bonds  in  com- 
mon. 

Now  that  Mary  could  form  her  own  judgment  of 
Lincoln,  she  hardly  knew  what  to  think.  He  was  in 
appearance  a  dreamer,  yet  from  his  records,  practical, 
and  ready  to  take  advantage  of  every  opportunity  to 
improve  himself.  He  was  certainly  not  the  ill-dressed 
man  some  people  said  he  was  (Mary  attached  impor- 
tance to  dress),  but  was  as  conventionally  clad  as  all  the 
other  young  men  she  met.  She  might  have  known, 
of  course,  that  her  cousin  John  Stuart  would  hardly 
have  taken  into  his  office  for  a  partner  a  man  whose 
appearance  or  manner  could  cast  a  reflection  on  a 
dignified  firm.  Also,  of  course,  when  Lincoln  was 
traveling  through  the  country  electioneering  he  was 
shrewd  enough  to  know,  having  been  a  backwoods- 
man himself,  that  broadcloth,  even  if  frayed  and  dusty, 
would  not  win  as  many  votes  among  the  farmers  as 
jeans. 

Mary  heard  on  all  sides  that  Lincoln  was  the  life  of 
a  party  of  men  and  that  one  anecdote  after  another 
rolled  readily  off  his  tongue,  but  that  his  tongue  was 


76  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

tied  in  the  presence  of  ladies.  She  found  this  as  much 
a  fable  as  the  story  that  he  appeared  in  jeans  when 
broadcloth  would  be  a  more  appropriate  garb.  If  now 
and  then  he  called  when  in  a  quiet  thoughtful  mood, 
that  mattered  not  at  all  to  Mary  who  was  an  enthusi- 
astic talker  and  enjoyed  an  appreciative  audience.  And 
when  Lincoln  did  break  his  silence,  he  was  keen  and 
expressed  some  thought  in  forceful  fashion  starting 
Mary  of!  again.  They  often  read  aloud  to  each  other 
and  criticized  some  book  or  poem.  The  institution  of 
slavery  they  both  condemned,  hoping  that  it  would  not 
be  extended  beyond  its  present  boundaries. 

Altogether,  Mary  found  in  Lincoln  the  most  con- 
genial mind  she  had  ever  met.  One  evening  lingering 
over  coffee  and  cake  in  the  dining  room,  Mary  and  her 
sister  were  recalling  with  much  amusement  the  super- 
stitions of  their  childhood,  when  they  heard  Mr.  Lin- 
coln's voice  in  the  hall. 

"Bring  Mr.  Lincoln  in  here,"  Mrs.  Edwards  di- 
rected the  servant.  Greetings  exchanged,  she  motioned 
him  to  a  chair  beside  herself  and  helping  him  to  some 
cake,  said,  glancing  at  Mary,  "This  cake  is  not  as  light 
as  usual.  You  see,  I  made  it  on  Friday — that  is  the 
reason  it  is  sad,  I  suppose.  Never,"  she  said  with  mock 
seriousness,  "commence  anything  on  that  unlucky  day." 
"Oh,"   said   Mary  laughing,   "I  would   not  think  of 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  77 

doing  such  a  thing!  I  cut  out  an  organdy  frock  on 
Friday,  two  years  ago,  and  it  is  still  unfinished.  Since 
then,  I  always  propitiate  the  Fates,  the  Furies,  and  the 
Fairies.  You  see,"  she  said,  turning  to  Mr.  Lincoln, 
"my  sister  and  I  are  part  Scotch  and  we  believe  in 
fairies.  I  have  hunted  for  the  magic  circle  where  they 
dance,  and  I  am  sure  I  have  heard  the  faint  elusive 
music  of  fairy  bells." 

"And  the  elfin  horns  faintly  blowing?"  asked  Mr. 
Lincoln,  entering  into  her  poetic  mood.  "I  believe  in 
fairies  myself,"  he  added,  looking  at  her  admiringly. 
"I  am  sure  that  one  of  them  must  have  been  your  god- 
mother. She  fell  in  love  with  you  in  your  cradle  and 
showered  you  with  all  her  choicest  gifts.  You  and  your 
sister  must  have  been  prime  favorites  of  that  generous 
lady,"  he  said,  bowing  courteously  to  Mrs.  Edwards. 

"You  shall  have  a  glass  of  sherry  for  that  pretty  com- 
pliment," exclaimed  Mrs.  Edwards  who  had  filled  him 
a  wine  glass.  As  Mr.  Lincoln  smilingly  shook  his  head, 
she  said,  "I  am  sorry  I  have  no  hard  cider  to  offer  you ; 
you  are  such  a  staunch  Whig  you  would  not  refuse  to 
drink  a  toast  with  us  to  William  Henry  Harrison  in  the 
beverage  so  acclaimed  in  his  log-cabin  and  hard-cider 
canvass.  "No,"  said  Mr.  Lincoln,  with  a  laugh,  "for 
I  was  brought  up  in  a  log  cabin  and  raised  on  hard 
cider."    "As  were  all  our  sturdy  pioneers  in  Kentucky," 


78  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

said  Mrs.  Edwards.  "Many  distinguished  men  com- 
menced life  in  the  early  days  in  a  log  fort  or  a  cozy, 
chinked  cabin  with  a  generous  big  chimney,  typical  of 
their  big  generous  hearts.  By  the  way,  Mary  has  just 
accepted  an  invitation  to  visit  the  family  of  our  uncle, 
Judge  David  Todd  in  Missouri,  who  is  as  ardent  a 
Whig  as  you.  They  have  promised  her  a  most  inter- 
esting and  exciting  time,  since  all  the  politicians  in  that 
State  will  be  assembled  at  Rocheport  only  a  short  dis- 
tance from  uncle's  home  in  Columbia."  Mary  and  Mr. 
Lincoln  exchanged  a  quiet  glance.  He  had  heard  of 
this  contemplated  visit  and  together  they  had  con- 
ceived a  romantic  plan  to  meet  each  other  during  this 
political  rally. 

Mary  had  never  met  her  father's  three  brothers,  who 
had  left  Kentucky  and  had  settled  in  Missouri  in  1817. 
Sam  Todd  was  the  uncle  who  had  been  captured  by  the 
Indians  and  adopted  by  an  old  squaw.  Masquerading 
as  her  son,  he  had  been  considered  a  member  of  the 
tribe  for  three  years,  until  he  managed  to  escape.  Mary 
never  tired  of  hearing  this  thrilling  story  over  and  over 
again.  Whigs  like  all  the  Todds,  David  had  been 
elected  circuit  judge,  and  Roger  North,  circuit  clerk. 
They  were  all  solid,  substantial  citizens. 

Judge  Todd,  accompanied  by  Mary  and  his  daughter 
Ann,  went  to  Rocheport.     There  were  four  steamboat 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  79 

loads  of  cheering  enthusiastic  Whigs  steaming  up  the 
Missouri  River  with  bands  of  music  playing  and  flags 
and  Harrison  banners  flying.  The  boat  on  which  Mr. 
Lincoln  had  taken  passage  went  aground  on  a  sand  bar 
and  the  disappointed  passengers  failed  to  reach  the  big 
political  rally.  Mr.  Lincoln  did  not  fail,  however,  to 
reach  Columbia,  and  the  next  Sunday  he  and  Mary 
were  occupying  the  Todd  pew  in  the  Presbyterian 
Church. 

Mary  and  her  cousin  Ann  E.  Todd  became  great 
friends.  Among  the  young  men  paying  homage  to  the 
two  girls  was  a  wealthy  young  Missourian  named 
Campbell,  and  when  Ann  later  visited  Mrs.  Edwards 
in  Springfield  the  attentions  of  Joshua  Speed  and 
numerous  other  beaux  counted  as  nothing  beside  the 
love  letters  that  daily  arrived  from  the  devoted  Mr. 
Campbell.1  Ann  married  him  soon  after  she  returned 
to  Columbia,  and  they  lived  in  Boonville,  Missouri. 
One  son,  Quint  Campbell,  was  a  newspaper  writer. 

When  Mary  returned  to  Springfield,  she  kept  her 
uncle  Dr.  John  Todd  chuckling  over  the  anecdotes  she 

1  Dr.  William  E.  Barton,  in  The  Women  Lincoln  Loved,  having  in  mind, 
no  doubt,  a  letter  written  by  Lincoln,  May  18,  1843,  to  his  friend  Joshua 
Speed,  in  which  Lincoln  mentions  the  fact:  "Ann  Todd  was  married  some- 
thing more  than  a  year  since  to  a  fellow  by  the  name  of  Campbell  *  *  *," 
jumped  to  a  false  conclusion  when  he  stated  that  Ann  Todd  (Mary's 
sister)  was  married  twice,  first  to  a  Mr.  Campbell  and  then  to  Mr.  C. 
M.  Smith.  The  Ann  Todd  alluded  to  in  Mr.  Lincoln's  letter  was  Ann  E. 
Todd,  the  daughter  of  Judge  David  Todd  of  Columbia,  Missouri. 


80  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

had  heard  of  his  brother  David.  "Every  day  after  din- 
ner," she  related,  "and  before  returning  to  the  court- 
house, it  was  uncle's  custom  to  take  a  short  nap.  On 
account  of  company  for  dinner  one  day  he  was  deprived 
of  his  forty  winks.  One  of  the  lawyers  was  making  a 
long  argument  to  the  jury  and  Uncle  David  went  to 
sleep  on  the  bench.  He  awoke  in  a  moment  and  inter- 
rupting the  lawyer  in  his  argument,  said,  "Mr.  Clerk, 
enter  up  a  fine  of  ten  dollars  against  David  Todd  for 
contempt  of  court.  I'll  break  up  this  habit  of  going  to 
sleep  in  daylight  or  I'll  break  the  court."  "Yes,"  said 
her  Uncle  John,  "that  is  like  David,  he  is  the  soul  of 
honesty,  though  he  is  somewhat  of  a  spendthrift." 

The  meeting  of  Mary  and  Mr.  Lincoln  in  Missouri 
brought  their  incipient  love  affair  closer  to  a  definite 
understanding. 

That  Lincoln  did  not  observe  the  conventionalities  of 
society  alternately  amused  and  irritated  Mary  although 
she  realized  that  many  things  he  did  not  know  or  do 
must  be  ingrained  and  carefully  taught  in  childhood, 
by  precept  and  example,  and  that  if  merely  conformed 
to  later  in  life  is  only  an  artificial  veneer  more  easily 
peeled  off  than  put  on.  When  Mary  slyly  poked  fun 
at  him  for  committing  some  faux  pas  he  would  look  at 
her  quizzically,  his  gray  eyes  twinkling,  as  if  to  say, 
"How  can  you  attach  such  great  importance  to  matters 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  81 

so  trivial?"  and  Mary's  color  would  deepen  as  though 
caught  in  a  petty  meanness,  or  if  she  spoke  sharply  in 
reproof,  the  hurt  look  in  his  eyes  made  her  repentant 
and  almost  ready  to  weep.  "Mary  could  make  a  bishop 
forget  his  prayers,"  chuckled  Ninian  Edwards  one  day 
when  Mary  mimicked  the  mannerisms  of  some  of  her 
beaux  with  unflattering  fidelity,  although  her  imitation 
of  Lincoln  was  never  so  full  of  spice. 

"I  hear  the  Yankee,  the  Irishman  and  our  rough  dia- 
mond from  Kentucky  were  here  last  night,"  joked  her 
cousin  Stephen  Logan.  "How  many  more  have  you  on 
the  string,  Mary?"  "Are  they  not  enough?"  she  re- 
plied. "Which  of  them  do  you  fear  the  most?"  "I 
fear  I  am  in  grave  danger,"  said  Logan,  "of  having  to 
welcome  a  Yankee  cousin."  "Never!"  said  Mary. 
"The  Yankee,  as  you  call  Mr.  Douglas,  differs  from  me 
too  widely  in  politics.  We  would  quarrel  about  Henry 
Clay.  And  Jimmy  Sheilds,  the  Irishman,  has  too  lately 
kissed  the  Blarney  Stone  for  me  to  believe  he  really 
means  half  of  his  compliments,  and  the  rough  dia- 
mond  "  "The  rough  diamond,"  interrupted  Cou- 
sin Steve,  "is  much  too  rugged  for  your  little  white 
hands  to  attempt  to  polish."  "To  polish  a  stone  like 
that,"  said  Mary  dreamily,  "would  be  the  task  of  a 
lifetime,  but  what  a  joy  to  see  the  beauty  and  brilliance 
shine  out  more  clearly  each  day!    The  important  thing 


82  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

is  the  diamond  itself,  clear  and  flawless  under  its  film." 
"Whew!"  whistled  the  astonished  Cousin  Steve,  "you 
don't  mean  you  would  seriously  consider  it?"  "Why 
not?"  quickly  countered  Mary  with  some  heat.  "He 
is  one  of  your  best  friends.  You  have  told  me  time 
and  again  you  never  met  a  man  with  more  ability,  more 
native  intellect."  "But,"  quietly  interposed  Mrs.  Ed- 
wards, "Mary  is  not  thinking  of  Mr.  Lincoln  in  the 
light  of  a  lover,  Cousin  Steve,  he  is  merely  one  of  her 
most  agreeable  friends  and  not  one  whit  more  agreeable 
than  Mr.  Douglas  or  several  others." 

Still,  her  cousins  from  this  time  on  noticed  that  Mary 
flared  into  defense  at  the  least  criticism  of  Lincoln, 
although  she  herself  still  made  a  little — a  very  little — 
mild  fun  of  the  young  lawyer.  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Edwards 
at  last  became  alarmed  at  Mary's  evident  preference, 
and  feeling  their  responsibility  as  her  guardians,  they 
strongly  objected  and  pointed  out  to  Mary  the  incon- 
gruity of  such  a  marriage.  Although  Mr.  Lincoln  was 
honorable,  able,  and  popular,  his  future,  they  said,  was 
nebulous,  his  family  relations  were  on  a  different  social 
plane.  His  education  had  been  desultory.  He  had  no 
culture,  he  was  ignorant  of  social  forms  and  customs,  he 
was  indifferent  to  social  position. 

Why  couldn't  she  fancy  some  man  possessing  these 
qualities   which   Lincoln   lacked?     Why   not   fancy 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  83 

Stephen  A.  Douglas  or  some  other  of  the  promising 
young  men  in  love  with  her?  Douglas,  they  reminded 
her,  although  he  had  no  bank  account,  was  an  educated 
and  polished  young  man,  a  rising  young  politician  with 
a  bright  future  that  should  more  than  satisfy  the  most 
ambitious  woman.  Four  years  younger  than  Lincoln, 
he  had  already  achieved  higher  political  honors  and 
already  was  mentioned  for  Congress.  He  might  be- 
come senator;  perhaps,  even  President.  From  every 
point  of  view  nothing  could  be  more  desirable  than  a 
marriage  with  him. 

Mary  listened  with  an  impassive  face.  She  knew  all 
this.  She  had  told  herself  over  and  over  again  that 
Douglas  from  a  socially  ambitious  point  of  view  would 
be  a  more  desirable  husband,  but  something  deep  down 
in  the  sad  gray  eyes  of  Lincoln  drew  her  very  heart 
out  of  her  breast  with  longing  and  tenderness.  She  was 
drawn  as  naturally  and  irresistibly  to  Lincoln  as  if 
through  some  law  of  spiritual  gravitation.  Not  that 
she  sometimes  did  not  have  a  bitter  struggle  with  her- 
self. When  Lincoln  would  carelessly  ignore  some  so- 
cial custom  or  forget  an  engagement,  she  would  then 
resentfully  wish  she  could  decide  in  favor  of  Douglas. 
Mary  had  been  as  fascinated  with  Mr.  Lincoln's  per- 
sonality from  their  very  first  meeting  as  he  had  been 
with  her  grace  and  wit.    Each  found  in  the  other  the 


84  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

novelty  which  is  most  winsome  to  lovers.  He  found  in 
her  a  bubbling  fun,  an  enthusiastic  love  of  life.  She  in 
turn  was  intrigued  by  his  moodiness,  his  sincerity  and 
honesty,  his  freedom  from  the  pretty  flatteries  and  the 
conventional  gallantries  of  the  men  in  her  social  set. 
He  had  never  met  a  woman  like  Mary  Todd,  suave, 
equal  to  any  social  emergency.  She  had  found  for  the 
first  time  a  young  man  with  a  mentality  dominating  yet 
in  accord  with  her  own. 

When  Mary's  sister,  Mrs.  Edwards,  confided  to  her 
sisters  and  other  relatives  in  Springfield  her  fear  that 
Mary  was  about  to  make  a  serious  matrimonial  mis- 
take, they  were  amused,  believing  this  to  be  only  one 
more  of  Mary's  flirtations,  for  she  was  an  incorrigible 
flirt.  But  when  they  realized  she  was  in  earnest  they 
showered  her  with  advice  and  objections.  Her  sisters 
plainly  gave  her  that  "piece  of  mind"  which  "never 
impoverishes  the  giver  nor  enriches  the  receiver."  Al- 
together, Mary  was  not  having  a  peaceful  time.  Nei- 
ther, for  that  matter,  was  Lincoln,  for  gossip  was 
drifting  to  his  ears  that  he  was  not  considered  a  de- 
sirable addition  to  the  family  by  Mary's  relatives. 

The  handsome  home  of  the  Edwards'  now  became 
the  center  of  a  social  whirl  of  gayety.  They  entertained 
with  lavish  Southern  hospitality,  and  the  house  was 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  85 

thronged  with  laughing  young  girls  and  eligible  young 
men.    But  Mary  was  not  to  be  diverted  from  her  choice. 

Being  socially  prominent,  she  was  frequently  quoted: 
"Mary  Todd  said"  thus  and  so,  or  "Mary  Todd  did  this 
or  that,"  construed  variously  as  the  narrators  or  auditors 
v\  re  friendly  or  otherwise.  She  was  sharply  criticized 
ft  her  drive  on  a  dray.  She  had  gone  on  foot  to  call 
M  some  friends  within  walking  distance  of  the  Ed- 
i  :ds  home.  A  heavy  shower  having  fallen  during  her 
1,  she  was  dismayed  on  starting  home  to  see  the  deep 
0.  xk  mud  of  the  streets.  She  glanced  ruefully  down 
at  her  thin  modish  gray  gaiters  and  snowy  white,  be- 
laced  petticoats,  but  her  nimble  wit  and  independent 
spirit  were  equal  to  the  emergency.  With  her  whimsi- 
cal smile  she  summoned  a  passing  dray  to  take  her 
home.  Waving  gayly  and  victoriously  to  the  acquaint- 
ances she  passed  on  the  way,  she  jolted  home  with  dry 
gaiters  and  dainty  petticoats.  Only  one  who  has  seen 
the  deep,  rich,  black  soil  of  Illinois  on  a  rainy  day 
can  fully  appreciate  the  wisdom  of  this  unusual  and 
apparently  eccentric  drive. 

Lincoln  heard  Mary  quoted  almost  as  often  as  she 
delightedly  listened  to  anecdotes  of  him,  and  so  these 
two  people,  trained  so  differently,  found  each  other. 

Mary  had  always  lived  in  an  atmosphere  of  thought 
and  books,  of  ambition  to  attain  the  best  in  the  mental, 


86  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

spiritual,  and  material  world,  on  a  social  plane  where 
the  refinements  and  amenities  of  life  were  considered 
important  and  occupied  a  large  share  of  time  and  at- 
tention. Thanks  to  the  strong  arms  and  active  brains 
of  her  Indian-fighting  ancestors,  her  place  in  the  sun 
had  been  won  and  puncheon  floors  had  long  since  been 
replaced  by  floors  waxed  and  polished  like  mirrors. 

Lincoln's  people,  on  the  other  hand,  had  not  yet 
struggled  up  from  the  dirt  and  puncheon  floors.  In 
pioneer  days  they  had  unfortunately  located  in  Ken- 
tucky on  poor,  rocky  soil  that  no  amount  of  toil  would 
bring  to  produce  abundantly.  No  wonder  the  family 
grew  apathetic  and  discouraged.  What  was  the  use! 
Abraham  Lincoln  knew  from  personal  experience,  toil, 
suffering,  deprivation,  and  discouragement,  but  being 
a  dreamer  and  a  poet  by  nature  and  having  the  "divine 
urge"  of  a  rich,  strong,  and  many-sided  mentality,  he 
was  spurred  on  and  on. 

While  Mary's  engagement  to  Mr.  Lincoln  had  not 
been  formally  announced,  her  family  and  friends  knew 
that  she  and  Lincoln  had  reached  an  understanding. 
Like  most  engaged  lovers,  they  had  their  heated  dis- 
putes, jealousies,  lovers'  quarrels,  swift  reconciliations, 
and  intervals  of  loving  understanding.  When  Lincoln, 
ten  years  older  than  Mary  and  schooled  by  bitter  ex- 
perience, realized  that  he  was  about  to  assume  the  re- 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  87 

sponsibility  for  the  support  and  happiness  of  a  young 
women  unused  to  deprivations  of  any  kind,  he  became 
panic-stricken.  A  few  years  before  he  had  written  a 
former  sweetheart,  Mary  Owens,  that  he  feared  he 
could  not  make  her  happy  on  account  of  the  "flourish- 
ing around  in  carriages"  of  the  Springfield  wealthy 
class.  And  now — he  was  engaged  to  sparkling,  happy, 
high-spirited  Mary  Todd,  a  petted,  feted  society  girl, 
a  little  spoiled  by  all  the  adulation  and  attention  she 
was  constantly  receiving.  How  could  he  supply  all  her 
demands?  How  give  her  lovely  clothes,  pin  money,  a 
carriage;  indeed,  to  face  the  facts,  how  could  he  pro- 
vide her  with  what  she  would  deem  the  very  essentials 
of  life?  Would  her  love  turn  to  humiliation  and 
harden  into  indifference  were  she  deprived  of  the  luxu- 
ries to  which  she  had  been  accustomed?  He  had  been 
deeply  hurt  by  the  opposition  of  Mary's  family.  Those 
who  knew  her  most  intimately  thought  she  would  be 
unhappy  with  a  poor  man.  Were  they  right?  In  the 
candor  of  self-examination,  did  he  think  himself,  strug- 
gling for  a  foothold  in  his  profession,  unlearned  in 
social  graces,  a  suitable  husband  for  Mary?  Suppose 
she  regretted  too  late  that  she  had  not  made  the  bril- 
liant marriage  her  family  had  a  right  to  expect.  That 
they  loved  each  other  was  not  now  the  case  in  point. 
His  pride  and  love  were  in  mortal  combat.    Between 


88  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

these  conflicting  emotions  he  became  obsessed  by  the 
deep  melancholy  latent  in  his  being.  Perhaps  he  and 
Mary  had  made  a  mistake  in  selecting  each  other,  he 
mused  moodily,  with  his  chin  sunk  in  his  hands. 

With  a  sigh  he  came  out  of  these  unhappy  reflections 
to  remember  with  a  start  that  the  hour  of  his  engage- 
ment to  take  Mary  to  a  party  had  passed.  When  he 
reached  the  Edwards  home,  breathless  from  his  hurried 
walk  and  disturbed  in  mind,  he  found  Mary  had  gone. 
Following  quickly,  he  discovered  her  dancing  happily 
with  Stephen  Douglas,  ever  ready  to  seize  upon  oppor- 
tunities and  never  forgetful  of  social  engagements. 

Mary  noticed  Lincoln's  arrival,  though  apparently 
she  did  not  vouchsafe  so  much  as  a  glance  in  her  tardy 
lover's  direction,  but  flirted  ostentatiously  with  the  de- 
lighted Douglas.  Seeing  this,  Lincoln  let  the  apology 
which  he  was  about  to  make  die  on  his  lips  and,  a 
twinge  of  jealousy  contracting  his  heart,  he  turned 
abruptly  and  left  the  house.  "Well,  so  be  it,  she  has 
made  her  own  choice,"  he  felt.  Perhaps  it  is  better  so. 
He  could  neither  think  clearly,  work  nor  sleep;  the 
situation  was  unbearable.  He  determined  to  have  a 
talk  with  Mary  and  end  it  all. 

On  New  Year's  day  there  was  the  usual  big  family 
gathering  at  the  Edwards  home ;  dinner  had  been  joy- 
ous   and    prolonged,    lasting   from   four   until    seven 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  89 

o'clock.  The  guests  had  departed,  and  Mary  was 
alone.  Seated  before  a  glowing  fire  she  was  expecting 
her — lover,  but  she  was  totally  unprepared  for  the 
effect  her  flirtation  with  Stephen  Douglas  had  had  on 
him.  Lincoln  appeared  grim  and  determined.  With- 
out preamble  he  told  her  plainly  that  he  intended  to 
release  her  from  her  engagement.  Mary  was  furiously 
angry;  the  pink  in  her  cheeks  glowed  a  deeper  rose, 
and  her  eyes  were  a  deeper  blue  as  she  told  him  in  a 
strained,  low  voice  that  while  she  had  loved  him  with 
her  whole  heart  she  now  hoped  and  prayed  never  to  see 
his  detestable  face  again. 

"Go,"  she  cried  with  a  stamp  of  her  little  foot,  "and 
never,  never,  never  come  back." 

Lincoln  turned  sadly  and  unsteadily  away.  And  now 
that  he  had  settled  this  love  affair,  in  effect  if  not  in 
manner,  as  he  had  planned — was  he  happy?  Would 
she  be  happy?  He  knew  now  beyond  a  doubt,  with  a 
curious  sinking  of  his  heart,  that  Mary  Todd  had  loved 
him,  yes,  still  loved  him.  Had  he  made  a  terrible  mis- 
take and  shattered  the  world  for  both  of  them?  He 
wrote  to  John  T.  Stuart  three  weeks  after  the  breaking 
of  his  engagement  of  the  "deplorable  state"  of  his  mind, 
and  added: 

"I  am  now  the  most  miserable  man  living.    If  what  I 


90  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

feel  were  equally  distributed  to  the  whole  human  fam- 
ily, there  would  not  be  one  cheerful  face  on  the  earth." 

The  breaking  of  their  engagement  was  known  to  all 
their  friends.  And  while  Lincoln  was  too  wretched 
to  keep  his  own  council  and  wrote  and  talked  of  his 
unhappiness,  Mary  was  too  proud  to  show  the  hurt  in 
her  heart.  Her  family  received  the  news  with  un- 
alloyed joy  and  hoped  that  Mary's  heart  might  be 
caught  on  the  rebound  by  some  more  eligible  man. 

It  seems  hardly  worth  while  for  a  member  of  Mary 
Todd's  family  to  deny  again  that  a  wedding  between 
Mary  and  Mr.  Lincoln  was  arranged  for  the  first  of 
January,  1841,  but  Emilie  Todd  (Mrs.  Ben  Hardin 
Helm),  Mary  Todd's  sister,  who  at  this  writing  is 
living  and  possessed  of  all  her  faculties,  declares  Hern- 
don's  story  to  be  absolutely  false  and  a  cruel  reflection 
on  the  character  of  a  noble  man  who  would  have  been 
incapable  of  such  an  act  of  cruel  cowardice  as  non- 
appearance at  his  own  wedding.  The  preceding  ac- 
count of  what  happened  on  that  "fatal"  first  of  January, 
1841,  Mrs.  Edwards  told  Mrs.  Helm  she  had  gathered 
brokenly  from  their  sister  Mary  when  Mary  with  tears 
in  her  eyes  and  a  forced  light  laugh  told  her  sister  of 
her  broken  engagement. 

Meanwhile  Mr.  Lincoln  was  ill.  And  hoping  to 
find  comfort  and  consolation  in  intimate  talks,  he  visited 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  91 

his  friend  Joshua  F.  Speed  (on  a  farm  near  Louis- 
ville), who  afterwards  gave  for  publication  letters 
written  to  him  in  strictest  confidence  by  Lincoln.  In 
one  of  the  letters  Lincoln  begs  Speed  not  to  show 
the  letters  to  anyone  not  even  to  his  wife  Fanny,  unless 
all  the  circumstances  had  already  been  told  her.  In 
spite  of  this  entreaty,  the  letters  were  published  for  all 
the  world  to  see  the  heart  laid  bare  for  Speed's  eyes 
alone;  though  Mr.  Speed,  with  "rare  delicacy  of  feel- 
ing," states  one  biographer,  "carefully  stipulated  that 
the  name  of  a  certain  lady  be  withheld  from  publica- 
tion." Pity  that  this  rare  delicacy  of  feeling  had  not 
also  been  extended  toward  his  confiding  and  trusting 
friend ! 

But  Mary  did  not  droop,  though  her  world  seemed 
dull  indeed  without  her  "Robin  Adair."  She  took  her 
amusements  with  spirit  and  gayety.  She  did  not  wear 
her  heart  on  her  sleeve.  Apparently  she  did  not  pine 
for  her  lest  lover,  and  Lincoln  need  not  have  been  so 
grieved  over  her  unhappiness  that  he  needs  must  write 
of  it  to  Speed.  He  seems  to  have  been  greatly  surprised 
that  Mary  was  enjoying  herself  so  exceedingly,  and  ex- 
claimed, "God  be  praised  for  that."  Subconsciously 
though,  he  seems  to  have  been  chagrined  that  Mary  ap- 
parently missed  him  so  little  that  she  could  actually 


92  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

enjoy  herself  without  him,  laughing  and  chatting  with 

other  friends  as  if  no  Lincoln  existed. 

Mr.  Lincoln  was  now  free  from  any  entanglement 
with  Mary  Todd.  His  only  source  of  unhappiness,  he 
writes  Speed,  being  one  whom  he  had  "contributed  to 
make  unhappy,  I  cannot  but  reproach  myself  for  even 
wishing  to  be  happy  while  she  is  otherwise."  But  this 
cause  for  his  unhappiness  did  not  exist.  He  thanked 
God  that  Mary  was  happy;  and  strange  as  it  seemed  to 
him,  Mary  was  happy — the  center  of  attraction  at  balls 
and  parties,  picnics  and  excursions. 

He,  lonely,  puzzled,  overwhelmed  with  melancholy, 
must  have  missed  her  bright  repartee,  the  play  of  ex- 
pression on  her  mobile  face  emphasizing  the  meaning 
of  her  words.  Memories  of  their  past  love  affair  surely 
haunted  him,  and  a  longing  grew  in  his  heart  for  a 
sight  of  her  mysterious  little  crooked  smile  curling  into 
irregular  dimples  on  each  side  of  her  mouth,  a  little 
deeper  on  her  right  cheek.  He  wished  to  hear  again 
the  soft  Southern  drawl  in  her  cultured  voice.  The 
little  drawl  which  quickened  into  an  eager  flow  of 
words  when  she  was  interested  or  excited.  An  ardent 
wish  for  reconciliation  must  have  filled  his  heart,  for 
when  Mrs.  Simeon  Francis  by  a  friendly  ruse  brought 
the  two  together  in  her  parlor  and  said,  "Be  friends 
again,"  there  was  no  hesitation  on  the  part  of  either  as 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  93 

Mary  lifted  her  long  lashes  and  met  the  love  she  ex- 
pected to  find  in  Lincoln's  deep-set  earnest  gray  eyes. 
They  were  one  in  mind  and  heart  and  as  long  as  life 
lasted  neither  ever  again  doubted  the  other's  faithful 
love. 

From  that  time  they  had  many  quiet  meetings  in  the 
home  of  Mrs.  Francis,  and  Mrs.  Edwards  knew  noth- 
ing of  these  meetings.  Mary  wanted  no  advice,  no 
more  criticism  of  the  man  she  loved.  Though  he  may 
not  have  always  made  flowery,  flattering  speeches, 
though  he  may  have  been  at  times  almost  too  frank  and 
candid,  the  warm  admiration  and  love  which  glowed  in 
his  eyes  fully  satisfied  her.  Judging  his  heart  by  her 
own,  she  knew  that  he  loved  her,  she  had  known  it  all 
along  during  the  months  of  their  estrangement;  and  she 
felt  that  his  love  would  be  strong  and  enduring,  that  the 
romance  she  had  cherished  from  childhood's  days 
would  culminate  in  marriage  to  the  hero  of  her  fancy, 
and  that  they  "would  be  happy  ever  after."  Neither 
Mary  nor  Mr.  Lincoln  wanted  the  "pomp  and  circum- 
stance" incident  to  a  big  wedding,  such  as  the  Ed- 
wards' had  given  her  sister  Frances  when  she  was 
married  to  Dr.  William  Wallace,  so  they  decided  to 
have  the  marriage  ceremony  performed  very  quietly 
at  the  house  of  Mr.  Dresser,  the  Episcopal  minister  in 
the  presence  of  a  few  of  their  most  intimate  friends. 


94  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

They  both  feared  further  opposition  from  Mary's  fam- 
ily and  were  still  resentful  of  past  advice  and  criticism. 

Mr.  Lincoln  meeting  Mr.  Edwards  on  the  street, 
therefore,  told  him  that  he  and  Mary  had  decided  to 
be  married  quietly  at  Mr.  Dresser's  house  that  evening. 

Mr.  Edwards,  feeling  responsible  for  Mary,  ex- 
claimed: "No,  I  am  Mary's  guardian  and  if  she  is 
married  at  all  it  must  be  from  my  house." 

Mary  was  consulted,  and  after  some  discussion  she 
and  Mr.  Lincoln  agreed  to  Mr.  Edwards'  wishes.  It 
was  a  bright  cool  morning  in  November  and  Mary 
fairly  flew  to  the  home  of  her  uncle,  Dr.  John  Todd, 
who  was  much  beloved  by  his  nieces,  being  so  calm  and 
quiet  and  affable.  "Uncle,"  she  cried  excitedly,  "you 
must  go  and  tell  my  sister  that  Mr.  Lincoln  and  I  are 
to  be  married  this  evening,"  and  turning  to  her  cousin 
Elizabeth  Todd,  she  asked  her  to  put  on  her  bonnet  and 
go  with  her  to  make  some  purchases. 

When  they  reached  the  Edwards  home  there  was 
great  excitement  coupled  with  no  little  indignation, 
that  such  news  should  have  been  announced  so  suddenly 
that  there  was  not  time  to  make  formal  and  suitable 
preparations  for  a  wedding.  But  Dr.  Todd  was  a  suave 
and  diplomatic  advocate  for  Mary's  cause  and  soon  had 
them  all  in  smiling  good-humor.  Mrs.  Edwards  said 
with  a  teasing  laugh,  "It  is  fortunate,  Mary,  that  you 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  95 

selected  this  evening,  for  the  Episcopal  sewing  society 
meets  with  me  and  my  supper  is  already  ordered." 
"But,"  said  Mrs.  Grimsley,  Mary's  cousin  (Elizabeth 
Todd),  in  a  statement  to  Miss  Tarbell,  "this  comfort- 
able little  arrangement  did  not  suit  Mary,"  and  Uncle 
John  was  sent  post  haste  to  inform  Mr.  Lincoln  that 
the  wedding  would  be  deferred  until  the  next  evening. 

The  Episcopal  minister,  Mary's  close  relatives,  and 
a  few  of  the  most  intimate  friends  of  the  two  were  noti- 
fied. It  was  a  very  small  gathering,  not  more  than 
thirty  people.  But  in  spite  of  such  hurried  prepara- 
tions, one  of  the  guests  writes,  "The  entertainment  was 
simple  but  in  beautiful  taste."  The  bride  wore  one  of 
her  lovely  embroidered  white  muslin  dresses.  Miss 
Jayne,  Miss  Rodney,  and  Miss  Elizabeth  Todd  were 
her  bridesmaids. 

The  heavy  black  clouds  that  had  been  massing  all 
day  sent  down  great  splashing  tear  drops ;  then  with  the 
rain  beating  down  in  roaring  torrents,  raging  and  rat- 
tling at  doors  and  windows,  Mary  Todd  became  the 
wife  of  Abraham  Lincoln. 

This  was  on  Friday,  the  fourth  of  November,  1842. 


CHAPTER  VI 

PARTNERS 

T\  /TR.  AND  MRS.  LINCOLN  commenced  their 
-^  *  JL  married  life  at  a  little  inn,  "The  Globe  Tavern," 
primitive  and  devoid  of  anything  like  luxury.  But  for 
the  modest  sum  of  four  dollars  a  week,  it  would  have 
been  surprising  if  the  Widow  Beck  could  have  fur- 
nished her  boarders  more  than  the  barest  necessities  of 
life. 

Although  such  surroundings  could  not  fail  to  be  any- 
thing but  distasteful  to  Mary,  reared  as  she  had  been, 
she  never  murmured ;  nor  did  she  utter  a  single  com- 
plaint, even  to  any  member  of  her  own  family.  Indeed, 
they  assert  she  seemed  very  happy.  Mr.  Lincoln  also 
seemed  satisfied  and  had  lost  some  of  the  deep  gloom 
which  had  affected  him  all  his  life,  and  for  which 
historians  have  tried  in  vain  to  account. 

Mary  knew  of  this  deep  and  settled  melancholy  in 
the  nature  of  the  man  she  married.  She  had  been 
drawn  to  him  in  the  first  place  by  this  dreamy  pensive- 
ness  which  appealed  to  the  strain  of  romance  and  poetry 
in  her  nature.  She  had  an  irresistible  impulse  to  im- 
part cheer  and  gayety;  to  make  smiles  take  the  place 
of  gloom  in  this  man  she  so  tenderly  loved.    That  she 

96 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  97 

might  fill  his  life  with  the  comforts  and  refinements  he 
had  always  lacked  would  be  her  greatest  joy;  she  felt 
she  could  be  to  him  a  real  helpmate.  He  was  careless 
about  being  warmly  clad,  and  indifferent  as  to  his 
meals ;  she  intended  to  see  that  he  should  be  more  care- 
ful about  his  health,  that  when  they  went  to  housekeep- 
ing he  should  have  nutritious,  appetizing  food,  well 
served  at  a  well-ordered,  dainty  table,  there  should  be 
flowers  and  snowy  damask.  She  looked  forward  with 
eagerness  to  the  little  home  they  would  have  together. 
Dreaming  of  this,  she  contentedly  lived  at  the  tavern, 
received  her  callers  without  complaint,  and  made  no 
apology  for  her  unlovely  surroundings.  Gay  and 
happy,  she  went  with  Mr.  Lincoln  to  concerts  and  to 
see  any  strolling  players  passing  through  Springfield. 
They  went  to  see  the  elder  Jefferson,  the  father  of  his 
more  famous  son  Joe,  who  played  in  Springfield  that 
winter.  A  circus,  too,  was  great  fun  and  not  to  be 
missed.  Then  the  parties  and  the  family  dinners  with 
her  sisters  and  her  Uncle  John,  and  best  of  all,  the 
quiet  evenings  together  when  they  talked  and  made 
plans  for  the  future.    The  year  passed  quickly. 

Ever  since  his  eldest  daughter  Elizabeth  had  married 
Ninian  Edwards,  Robert  S.  Todd  had  gone  to  Spring- 
field always  once,  sometimes  twice,  a  year  to  visit  his 
daughters  and  his  nephew  John  Todd  Stuart.    The  ar- 


98  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

rival  of  Mary's  first  son,  Robert  Todd,  born  August  i, 

1843,  was  the  important  occasion  at  one  of  these  visits. 

"May  God  bless  and  protect  my  little  namesake"  he 

had    prayed,    and    Mary   had   whispered    a    fervent 

"Amen." 

From  the  Globe  Tavern  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Lincoln  went 
to  housekeeping  in  a  little  cottage  of  their  own  on  the 
corner  of  Eighth  and  Jackson  Streets.  The  little  home 
was  painted  white  and  had  green  shutters.  It  was  sweet 
and  fresh,  and  Mary  loved  it.  She  was  exquisitely 
dainty,  and  her  house  was  a  reflection  of  herself,  every- 
thing in  good  taste  and  in  perfect  order.  She  enjoyed 
her  new  responsibilities  and  to  her  spirited  manner, 
which  had  attracted  Lincoln  in  the  first  place,  was 
now  added  a  charming  little  air  of  dignity  as  befitted 
a  householder,  and  the  mother  of  a  son. 

As  Mr.  Lincoln's  law  practice  increased  and  his 
finances  improved,  he  and  Mary  added  to  this  house  a 
second  story,  and  although  Mary  passionately  loved 
beautiful  and  desirable  things,  because  of  the  cost,  she 
had  to  collect  her  furniture  and  rugs  very  slowly,  and 
although  she  loved  to  make  herself  pretty  and  dainty 
for  her  husband,  she  did  not  burden  him  by  incurring 
heavy  debts.  With  discriminating  taste  she  bought  the 
materials,  always  of  the  best,  and  made  her  own  dresses. 
Yet  in  spite  of  this  small  outlay,  she  gained  the  reputa- 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  99 

tion  of  being  extravagant.  Many  of  her  feminine 
critics  on  double  the  expense  did  not  dress  half  so  well. 

In  1846  Mary  Lincoln  was  the  proud  mother  of  an- 
other son,  Edward  Baker,  born  March  10.  Eighteen 
months  later  her  longing  to  have  her  Kentucky  relatives 
see  her  two  boys  was  to  be  gratified.  She  was  homesick 
for  a  sight  of  the  haunts  of  her  childhood,  for  she  had 
written:  "Mother,  dear,  I  have  been  dreaming  of  our 
sweet  old  garden.  I  want  to  see  it  again,  and  even  if, 
at  this  time  of  the  year,  it  should  be  under  its  blanket  of 
snow,  I  could  still,  in  my  mind's  eye,  see  Elizabeth 
strolling  with  me  on  the  garden  walk  to  the  summer 
house." 

So  Mr.  Lincoln,  in  1847,  now  a  member  of  Congress, 
took  Mary  home  to  visit  her  father  in  Lexington  before 
settling  his  family  for  the  winter  in  Washington.  As  it 
was  Mary's  first  visit  to  Kentucky  since  her  marriage, 
she  anticipated  with  eagerness  her  home-coming.  None 
of  her  younger  brothers  or  sisters  had  ever  seen  her. 

It  was  a  cold  day  in  November,  and  the  wide  hall 
was  chilly  as  the  door  was  thrown  open  to  receive  them. 
The  whole  family  stood  near  the  front  door  with  wel- 
coming arms  and,  in  true  patriarchal  style,  the  colored 
contingent  filled  the  rear  of  the  hall  to  shake  hands  with 
the  long  absent  one  and  "make  a  miration"  over  the 


ioo  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

babies.    Mary  came  in  first  with  little  Eddie,  the  baby, 

in  her  arms. 

"To  my  mind  she  was  lovely,"  her  sister  Emilie  says ; 
"clear,  sparkling,  blue  eyes,  lovely  smooth  white  skin 
with  a  fresh,  faint  wild-rose  color  in  her  cheeks;  and 
glossy  light  brown  hair,  which  fell  in  soft,  short  curls 
behind  each  ear.  She  was  then  about  twenty-nine  years 
of  age. 

"Mr.  Lincoln  followed  her  into  the  hall  with  Its 
little  son  Robert  Todd  in  his  arms.  He  put  the  lit  V 
fellow  on  the  floor,  and  as  he  arose  I  remember  think- 
ing of  Jack  and  the  Beanstalk,  and  feared  he  might  be 
the  hungry  giant  of  the  story,  he  was  so  tall  and  looked 
so  big  with  a  long  full  black  cloak  over  his  shoulders 
and  he  wore  a  fur  cap  with  ear  straps  which  allowed 
but  little  of  his  face  to  be  seen.  Expecting  to  hear  the 
'Fee,  fi,  fo,  fum!'  I  shrank  closer  to  my  mother  and 
tried  to  hide  behind  her  voluminous  skirts.  After  shak- 
ing hands  with  all  the  grown-ups  Mr.  Lincoln  turned 
and,  lifting  me  in  his  arms,  said,  'So  this  is  little  sister.' 
I  was  always  after  that  called  by  him  'little  sister.'  His 
voice  and  smile  banished  my  fear  of  the  giant. 

"Our  brother  Sam,  who  was  attending  college  at 
Danville,  Kentucky,  came  home  to  see  sister  Mary  and 
his  little  nephews.  He  taught  Robert  to  call  him 
'Uncle  Sam'  and,  swelled  with  importance  at  the  honor 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  101 

of  being  an  uncle,  he  swaggered  around  as  proud  as 
Punch,  much  to  the  quiet  amusement  of  the  older  ones 
of  the  family.  What  a  big  handsome  boy  Sam  has 
grown  to  be,'  said  Sister  Mary  to  mother,  'he  was  such 
a  little  scrap  of  a  baby.'  'Well,'  said  Sam  laughing, 
'I  at  least  have  had  the  grace  to  grow  up  and  you  are 
still  only  a  tiny  little  scrap  hardly  reaching  to  my  shoul- 
der. I  hope  my  nephews  will  inherit  their  father's  long 
legs.'  'And  their  mother's  lovely  disposition'  said 
Mary  making  a  little  grimace  at  him. 

"I  do  not  recall  how  long  the  visit  lasted,  but  I  re- 
member the  romps  with  Bob,  and  that  Mr.  Lincoln  was 
so  absorbed  in  books  that  our  noisy  play  never  seemed 
to  disturb  him.  His  reading,  they  told  me  later,  was 
principally  Niles  Register  and  a  book  of  miscellaneous 
poems.  The  poem  by  Cowper  on  'Slavery  and  the 
Slave  Trade,'  he  bracketed  and  even  turned  down  the 
page  upon  which  it  appeared.  At  this  time  he  com- 
mitted to  memory  'Thanatopsis.' " 

Mrs.  Helm  tells  an  amusing  incident  in  connection 
with  this  visit.  Mrs.  Todd's  nephew,  Joseph  Hum- 
phreys, had  traveled  on  the  same  train  with  the  Lin- 
colns  without  knowing  who  they  were.  Being  alone, 
with  no  impedimenta,  he  quickly  covered  the  ground 
between  the  railway  station  and  the  Todd  home. 
"Aunt  Betsy,"  he  exclaimed,  "I  was  never  so  glad  to 


102  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

get  off  a  train  in  my  life.  There  were  two  lively 
youngsters  on  board  who  kept  the  whole  train  in  a 
turmoil,  and  their  long-legged  father,  instead  of 
spanking  the  brats,  looked  pleased  as  Punch  and  aided 
and  abetted  the  older  one  in  mischief."  Glancing  out 
of  the  window  at  that  moment  he  saw  the  "long- 
legged"  man  and  the  two  "lively  youngsters"  in  the 
Todd  carriage,  which  had  just  stopped  before  the 
door.  "Good  Lord,"  he  said  in  a  panic,  "there  they 
are  now."  He  promptly  vanished  and  was  not  seen 
again  during  Mary's  visit. 

"Four  years  later,"  Mrs.  Helm  continues,  "in  the 
summer  of  1851,  Sister  Mary  returned  to  Kentucky; 
but  our  father  had  died  in  1849  and  her  visit  now  was  to 
my  mother  at  her  country  place  Buena  Vista,  about 
twenty  miles  west  of  Lexington  on  the  Frankfort  Pike. 
It  was  summertime  and  the  house  was  filled  with  roses 
and  other  cut  flowers  in  honor  of  our  expected  guest. 
She  had  with  her,  her  two  boys,  Bob  and  Willie,  little 
Eddie  having  died  in  February.  I  was  now  thirteen 
years  old  and  could  appreciate  her  winning  personality. 
I  hung  around  her  fascinated,  as  she  and  my  mother 
exchanged  reminiscences,  and  gave  each  other  family 
news.  They  talked  of  politics  and  the  large  issues  of 
the  day.  Mary  was  a  good  and  enthusiastic  talker,  very 
observant,  seeing  the  ludicrous  as  well  as  the  serious 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  103 

side  of  things.  Her  tears  and  laughter  were  very  close 
together  as  she  and  my  mother  talked  of  the  past. 

"I  remember  how  kind  and  courteous  she  was  to  the 
old  slaves  who,  with  many  chuckles,  reminded  her  of 
the  pranks  she  used  to  play  in  her  childhood.  They 
were  often  the  indignant  victims.  Old  Chaney  was 
grieved  that  'Miss  Mary  didn't  have  no  beaten  biscuits 
at  home  because  the  po'  white  trash  Irish  didn't  even 
know  how  to  make  good  co'n  bread.'  And  Mary,  smil- 
ing but  exasperated,  with  her  notebook  and  pencil  tried 
to  take  directions  of,  'Jes  a  pinch — jes  a  leetle  bit — 
sweetenin'  to  tas','  and  so  on.  And  Sally,  our  faithful 
old  black  mammy,  usually  so  sweet  tempered,  was  in- 
sufferably arrogant  for  days  after  Miss  Mary  wished 
she  had  just  such  a  good  old  black  nurse  for  little 
Willie. 

"Robert,  seven  years  old,  played  with  our  youngest 
brother  Alec,  a  quick-tempered,  red-headed,  little  ras- 
cal, who  was  so  enchanted  with  his  new  sister  that  we 
were  always  trying  to  shoo  him  away  for  fear  his  cling- 
ing attentions  and  moist  little  kisses  would  annoy  her ; 
when  she  put  one  arm  around  Robert,  the  other  arm 
must  encircle  Alec  or  there  would  be  a  wail  of  sorrow. 
The  two  little  fellows  scampered  about  on  ponies,  slid 
down  the  ice-house  roof  and  romped  with  the  dogs. 

"Little  Willie  was  more  than  happy  with  old  Sally. 


104  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

"  What  has  become  of  Ann  B '  Mary  asked 

mother.  We  quarreled  when  we  were  children.  Ann 
thought  President  Jackson  was  better  looking  than 
Henry  Clay  and  my  father  both  rolled  into  one  and  I 
threatened  that  after  the  election  General  Jackson 
would  never  smile  again.  Poor  General  Jackson! 
His  smiles  indeed  were  very  rare  after  his  political  vic- 
tory. To  lose  his  beautiful  wife!  He  adored  her  and 
was  so  overcome  with  grief  as  she  was  lowered  gently 
into  her  grave  in  the  garden  of  roses  they  both  had 
loved  and  tended,  that  he  had  to  be  supported  in  the 
arms  of  a  friend  to  enable  him  to  stand  upright.  What 
agony  to  go  straight  from  the  grave  of  all  he  held  dear 
to  be  reinstated  as  President!  What  was  victory  then? 
A  dead  sea  apple  full  of  luscious  promise  outside,  and 
inside  nothing  but  dull,  bitter  gray  ashes. 

"  'I  also,'  said  Emilie,  'had  a  quarrel  about  Mr. 
Clay — when  he  was  running  for  President  against  Mr. 
Polk.    Father  had  brought  me  from  New  Orleans  the 

most  beautiful  doll  I  have  ever  seen.    Katherine  B 

and  I  were  playing  with  it,  and  she  said,  'I  bet  you 
your  doll  that  Mr.  Polk  will  be  elected.'  I  lost  the  bet 
and  Katherine  came  to  claim  the  doll.  I  refused  to 
give  it  to  her  and  we  were  having  high  and  angry 
words  when  father  hearing  us  came  into  the  room  to 
see  what  the  trouble  was. 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  105 

"Katherine  told  him  of  our  bet.  Father  said, 
'Emilie,  is  that  true?'  I  nodded  my  head  in  dumb 
agony.  Then,'  said  father  gently  'you  must  give 
Katherine  your  doll;  it  is  highly  dishonorable  not  to 
pay  your  debts.'  Katherine  went  off  triumphantly 
hugging  my  lovely  doll,  and  I  threw  myself  into 
father's  arms  in  a  convulsion  of  grief.  I  haven't  yet 
forgiven  Katherine,'  said  Emilie,  laughing.  'If 
Emilie  cherishes  bitterness  in  this  way,  she  will  grow 

to  be  like  our  old  friend  Maria '  said  Mrs.  Todd 

to  Mary. 

"Maria's  husband,  as  you  remember,  was  very  cross 
and  tyrannical  to  her.  In  order  to  make  amends  for 
some  particular  piece  of  tyranny  and  to  gratify  his  own 
inordinate  vanity,  he  ordered  a  marble  bust  of  himself 
to  present  to  his  wife,  but  he  died  before  it  was  sent 
home.  His  widow  burst  into  tears  when  she  saw  it, 
'Oh,  Sugar,  Sugar,  my  poor,  poor  Sugar,'  she  wept, 
'your  very  living  image!  take  that,  and  that,  and  that!' 
she  cried  angrily,  slapping  the  marble  face,  first  on  one 
cheek  and  then  on  the  other,  in  a  sudden  revulsion  of 
feeling.  'She  derives  great  satisfaction,'  smiled  Mrs. 
Todd,  'from  the  possession  of  that  marble  bust,  though 
her  hands  are  not  as  soft  as  they  used  to  be.'  Sister 
Mary  smiled  at  this  gossip  of  their  friends  and  ac- 


106  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

quaintances,  though  much  of  the  time  she  was  very  sad, 
grieving  for  her  little  dead  baby  and  for  our  father. 

"After  Sister  Mary  left  Kentucky,  I  counted  the  days 
until  I  could  accept  her  invitation  to  make  her  a  visit, 
and  finally,  when  I  was  about  eighteen,  I  set  out  hap- 
pily for  Illinois  to  visit  my  four  sisters.  Ann  Todd 
was  now  married  to  Mr.  C.  M.  Smith.  It  was  in 
December  when  I  arrived,  and  Springfield  was  in  the 
midst  of  a  whirl  of  gayety;  parties  and  balls  followed 
each  other  in  quick  succession;  and  Sister  Mary  was 
very  gay  that  winter.  I  was  struck  with  her  exquisite 
taste  in  dress.  One  gown,  I  remember,  was  a  lovely 
lavender  brocade  which  she  had  made  herself,  and 
which  she  wore  with  a  round  point  lace  collar.  Our 
sister  Mrs.  Edwards  entertained  several  times  that  win- 
ter, as  did  also  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Ben  Edwards. 

"Mr.  and  Mrs.  Lincoln  went  to  a  large  party  at  the 
Ridgleys  leaving  everything  apparently  secure  at  home 
with  a  maid  to  watch  the  children.  The  party  was  very 
delightful,  but  Mary  grew  restless  and  anxious,  and 
finally  said  'Mr.  Lincoln,  we  must  go  home.'  (Mary 
never  called  her  husband  by  his  first  name,  Abraham 
or  Abr'am,  but  always  formally  'Mr.  Lincoln.'  I  never 
heard  her  speak  to  him  in  any  other  way  except  in  talk- 
ing to  her  children,  when  she  would  say,  'Father  said' 
thus  and  so.)     We  must  go  home,  Mr.  Lincoln,'  she 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  107 

repeated,  but  he  was  reluctant  and  suggested  that  they 
stay  a  while  longer.  She  insisted,  however,  that  she 
must  go  and  told  him  she  would  get  someone  to  take  her 
home  that  he  might  stay  and  enjoy  himself.  With  his 
unfailing  kindness,  he  said,  'I  will  take  you  home.  We 
will  find  everything  all  right  and  then  we  can  come 
back  and  enjoy  the  rest  of  the  evening.'  They  did  not 
come  back,  however,  as  they  found  the  house  on  fire, 
the  maid  fast  asleep,  and  the  children's  lives  in  danger. 
Mr.  Lincoln  said  he  was  glad  he  had  a  wife  who  could 
'sniff  fire  a  quarter  of  a  mile  away.' 

"Mary  seemed  almost  clairvoyant,  her  intuitions 
were  so  clear  and  strong.  She  insisted  that  Mr.  Lincoln 
should  not  take  the  position  of  provisional  governor  of 
Oregon.  If  he  had  taken  it,  his  chance  of  being  made 
President  would  have  been  destroyed. 

"Governor  Matteson  had  a  beautiful  daughter 
Lydia.  Coming  home  from  church  one  morning,  my 
sister  said  to  me,  'Emilie,  you  are  just  as  pretty  as 
Lydia,  but  I  do  not  like  your  bonnet.'  The  next  Sun- 
day 'Little  Sister's'  head  was  crowned  with  a  white 
velvet  bonnet  smothered  in  lovely  white  plumes,  a  gift 
from  my  sister  and  brother  Lincoln. 

"I  was  at  the  State  House  with  my  sister  Mrs.  Ed- 
wards, when  Trumbull  was  elected  to  the  United  States 
Senate.     I  remember  how  indignant  we  were  that  our 


108  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

man  was  not  the  chosen  one.  We  feared  it  would  be  a 
terrible  blow  to  Mary,  but  if  she  was  disappointed  she 
kept  it  strictly  to  herself.  I  saw  Mary  Lincoln  every 
day  during  my  six  months'  visit  to  Springfield.  We 
often  went  for  long  drives  beyond  the  limits  of  the  town 
and  Bob,  who  was  quite  a  little  Chesterfield,  due  to  his 
mother's  careful  training,  would  help  us  out  of  the 
carriage  and  we  would  gather  wild  flowers  and  carry 
home  great  armfuls. 

"Mary  was  reading  the  novels  and  poems  of  Sir 
Walter  Scott  to  Bob  that  spring.  One  day  hearing 
sounds  of  strife,  we  ran  to  the  window.  Bob  and  a 
playmate  were  having  a  battle  royal.  Bob,  with  his 
sturdy  little  legs  wide  apart,  was  wielding  a  fence 
paling  in  lieu  of  a  lance  and  proclaiming  in  a  loud 
voice,  'This  rock  shall  fly  from  its  firm  base  as  soon  as 
I.'  Mary,  bubbling  with  laughter,  called  out  'Gra- 
mercy,  brave  knights.  Pray  be  more  merciful  than  you 
are  brawny.' 

"Mary  enjoyed  reading  a  wide  range  of  subjects, 
often  reviewing  a  book  for  Mr.  Lincoln.  I  heard  him 
say  he  had  no  need  to  read  a  book  after  Mary  gave  him 
a  synopsis.  He  had  great  respect  for  her  judgment  and 
never  took  an  important  step  without  consulting  her. 

"Mr.  Lincoln  appealed  to  the  eternal  feminine  in 
Mary.    She  mothered  her  husband  as  she  did  her  chil- 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  109 

dren,  and  he  seemed  very  dependent  on  her.  She  would 
call  him  back  and  make  him  wrap  his  throat  in  a  muf- 
fler. She  watched  his  health  as  she  did  that  of  her 
little  sons,  and  he  never  seemed  impatient  over  all  this 
fuss  made  over  him.  She  was  full  of  coquetry,  and 
often  patted  his  arm  and  slipped  her  lovely  little  white 
hand  into  his.  The  contrast  between  his  big,  bony, 
brown  hand  and  hers  was  almost  ludicrous.  She  was 
noted  for  her  lovely  hands.  They  were  well  formed, 
and  as  white  as  the  roses  she  so  often  wore  in  her  hair. 
She  must  have  known  how  pretty  her  hands  were  for 
she  made  many  quick  little  waves  and  bird-like  gestures 
with  them  as  she  talked. 

"Sister  Elizabeth  [Mrs.  Ninian  Edwards]  had  in- 
vited all  of  us  to  a  supper  party.  Sister  Mary  had  just 
finished  a  new  dress,  it  was  a  white  silk  with  blue  bro- 
caded flowers  scattered  over  it  in  bunches  and  little 
garlands.  When  Mr.  Lincoln  came  from  his  office 
Mary  reminded  him  it  was  time  to  change  for  the 
party.  He  looked  at  her  with  a  smile.  Tine  feathers 
enough  on  you  to  make  fine  birds  of  both  of  us.'  No- 
ticing her  dress  still  further,  he  said,  Those  posies  on 
your  dress  are  the  color  of  your  eyes.'  Mary  dimpled 
with  pleasure:  'You  see,  Emilie,  I  am  training  my  hus- 
band to  see  color.  I  do  not  think  he  knew  pink  from 
blue  when  I  married  him.' 


no  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

"One  evening  Bob  and  I  were  playing  checkers.  Mr. 
Lincoln  was  looking  thoughtfully  into  the  fire  and  ap- 
parently did  not  hear  what  Mary  was  saying.  Finally 
a  silence.  Mary  put  down  her  piece  of  embroidery  and 
said,  'Your  silence  is  remarkably  soothing,  Mr.  Lin- 
coln, but  we  are  not  quite  ready  for  sleep  just  yet.'  As 
Mr.  Lincoln  did  not  seem  to  hear,  Mary  got  up  and 
took  his  hand,  'I  fear  my  husband  has  become  stone 
deaf  since  he  left  home  at  noon,'  she  said.  'I  believe  I 
have  been  both  deaf  and  dumb  for  the  last  half  hour,' 
replied  Mr.  Lincoln,  (but  now  you  shall  not  complain'; 
and  he  launched  into  an  anecdote  of  one  of  his  clients 
which  broke  up  the  game  of  checkers  and  left  us  all 
speechless  with  laughter.  Mary  often  watched  for  her 
husband  and  when  it  grew  time  for  him  to  come  home 
she  would  meet  him  at  the  gate  and  they  would  walk 
to  the  front  door  swinging  hands  and  joking  like  two 
children. 

"Any  one  could  see  that  Mr.  Lincoln  admired  Mary 
and  was  very  proud  of  her.  She  took  infinite  pains  to 
fascinate  him  again  and  again  with  pretty  coquettish 
clothes  and  dainty  little  airs  and  graces.  She  was  gay 
and  light-hearted,  hopeful  and  happy.  She  had  a  high 
temper  and  perhaps  did  not  always  have  it  under  com- 
plete control,  but  what  did  it  matter?  Her  little  tem- 
per was  soon  over,  and  her  husband  loved  her  none  the 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  in 

less,  perhaps  all  the  more,  for  this  human  frailty  which 
needed  his  love  and  patience  to  pet  and  coax  the  sunny 
smile  to  replace  the  sarcasm  and  tears — and,  oh,  how 
she  did  love  this  man! 

"She  had  a  strong  belief  in  predestination,  ingrained 
in  the  blood  of  our  Scottish  Presbyterian  ancestors,  but 
wishing  for  any  thing  did  not  mean  that  she  should  not 
use  an  active  brain  and  determined  will  to  gain  her 
end.  She  believed  in  prayer,  but  not  a  passive  accept- 
ance of  fate  if  she  could  divert  predestination  into  more 
pleasant  channels.  She  said  to  me  one  day,  What  is 
to  be  is  to  be  and  nothing  we  can  say,  or  do,  or  be  can 
divert  an  inexorable  fate,  but  in  spite  of  knowing  this, 
one  feels  better  even  after  losing,  if  one  has  had  a 
brave,  whole-hearted  fight  to  get  the  better  of  destiny.' 

"Sister  Mary  asked  me  if  our  old  nurse  still  believed 
that  the  jay  birds  went  to  hell  every  Friday  night. 
When  I  answered,  'yes,  indeed,'  she  turned  to  Brother 
Lincoln,  saying:  'I  am  sure  I  have  never  told  you  how 
we  were  trained  to  be  so  prim  and  pious.'  Pointing  her 
finger  at  Brother  Lincoln  and  mimicking  Mammy's 
half-cajoling,  half-reproving  voice  she  threatened  him: 
*Nem  mine,  Mr.  Jay's  gitten  so  plum  full  of  tales  of 
you-alls  devilment,  I'm  feared  he'll  bust  befo'  Friday 
night  an'  time-come  fur  him  to  trabble  to  the  bad  place. 
Ole  man  Satan's  done  got  the  latch  pulled,  caze  he 


ii2  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

keeps  track  of  the  time  an'  when  Mr.  Jay  pecks  three 
times,  the  do'  flies  open.  But  po'  Mr.  Jay  is  so  weighten 
down  with  the  heavy  burden  of  you-all's  sins  which  he's 
been  totin'  roun'  all  week  that  he  can  scacely  fly  up 
to  old  man  Satan's  years  which  is  just  like  a  mule's,  long 
and  hairy  an'  made  plenty  big  on  puppus  so  he  won't 
have  the  year-ache  when  Mr.  Jay  gets  shet  of  his  load.' 
Brother  Lincoln  was  highly  amused  and  laughed  heart- 
ily over  Sister's  impersonation. 

"The  next  evening  he  was  very  late  for  supper  and 
the  impatient  cook  (they  had  only  the  one  maid)  came 
several  times  to  the  door  to  see  if  he  had  come.  Finally, 
two  hours  after  the  time  set  for  the  meal,  in  sauntered 
Brother  Lincoln  as  innocent  as  a  lamb  of  any  infraction 
of  domestic  routine.  Sister  reminded  him  of  the  time 
and  said,  'I  am  afraid  the  chickens  are  burned  to  a 
crisp.'  Bob  and  I  frankly  said  we  were  hungry.  As 
we  sat  down  at  the  table,  Brother  Lincoln  with  a  quiz- 
zical smile  said,  pointing  his  finger  at  Sister,  'Nem 
mine!  Mr.  Jay's  gwine  tell  ole  man  Satan  that  Mary 
sets  her  hungry  husband  down  to  burned  up  vittals  just 
caze  he's  two  minutes  late.'  Two  minutes!'  we  cried 
in  unison;  'two  hours  you  mean.'  'Nem  mine,'  said 
Brother  Lincoln,  'just  bring  on  the  cinders  and  see  how 
quickly  they  will  disappear.' 

"I  heard  a  story  going  the  rounds  of  our  family  in 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  113 

Springfield,  told  with  variations  and  great  glee  to  tease 
Mary,  that  Mr.  Lincoln  playing  with  the  baby  and 
pretending  to  be  the  pony  pulling  the  baby-wagon  for- 
got the  baby  in  it  and  thinking  of  something  else  did 
not  realize  that  he  was  pulling  an  empty  wagon,  that 
he  had  dumped  the  little  driver,  who  was  left  kicking 
and  squalling  in  the  gutter.  Mary  coming  up  the  street 
at  that  moment,  seeing  the  catastrophe,  screamed  and 
ran  to  the  little  fellow's  assistance — and,  who  could 
blame  her  if  she  said  a  sharp  word  to  the  father  so 
immersed  in  thought  that  he  did  not  know  he  had 
spilled  his  baby?  With  much  laughter,  they  told  me 
that  Mr.  Lincoln  did  not  wait  to  hear  all  that  Mary  had 
to  say,  his  long  legs  taking  him  out  of  sight  with  great 
celerity. 

"Mr.  Lincoln  enjoyed  his  home  and  he  and  Mary 
idolized  their  children.  So  far  as  I  could  see  there  was 
complete  harmony  and  loving  kindness  between  Mary 
and  her  husband,  consideration  for  each  other's  wishes 
and  a  taste  for  the  same  books.  They  seemed  congenial 
in  all  things." 

Mrs.  Wallace,  another  sister,  in  speaking  of  the  Lin- 
colns,  said,  "Mary  fairly  worshipped  him.  The  story 
of  their  unhappiness  is  absolutely  false." 

Of  course,  the  domestic  machinery  did  not  always 
run  smoothly,  and  Mary,  like  most  other  housekeepers, 


ii4  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

had  sometimes  her  problems  with  ignorant  and  ineffi- 
cient servants,  but  those  problems  were  hers  alone  to 
solve  and  did  not  give  her  the  serious  worry  and  anxiety 
she  felt  in  regard  to  what  she  considered  was  vital  to  the 
best  interests  of  her  husband. 

She  felt  that  Herndon  was  detrimental  to  him  and 
urged  him  to  form  a  more  desirable  partnership.  She 
had  a  keen,  almost  an  uncanny,  insight  into  the  motives 
of  men.  She  seemed  able  to  penetrate  the  outer  shell 
and  to  see  clearly  into  the  mind  and  soul  of  the  person 
under  her  scrutiny.  She  distrusted  Herndon  and  she 
did  not  believe  in  the  sincerity  of  his  friendship  for  her 
husband.  The  type  of  this  man  was  abhorrent  to  Mary, 
and,  honest  above  all  things,  she  could  not  conceal  her 
distaste  for  him,  nor  her  horror  for  his  very  unfortunate 
habits,  thereby  incurring  his  bitter  enmity.  Her  intui- 
tions were  fully  justified  when  Herndon  became  a  Lin- 
coln historian. 

Mary  was  full  of  fun  and  an  airy  sort  of  badinage, 
very  puzzling  to  a  dull-witted  person.  She  is  quoted  as 
saying  early  in  her  married  life,  "Mr.  Lincoln  is  not 
pretty;  he  would  certainly  make  a  magnificent  Presi- 
dent." Of  course  only  a  stupid  person  would  take  this 
as  a  serious  prophecy,  though,  no  doubt,  she  thought 
her  husband  better  fitted  to  occupy  that  position  than 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  115 

any  other  man  in  the  world — for  her  faith  in  him  was 
unbounded. 

Mary  Lincoln,  while  a  painstaking  and  exquisite 
housekeeper,  was  so  careful  with  her  expenditures  that 
Mr.  Lincoln  could  help  his  own  family  and  pay  off  the 
debt  of  the  store  at  New  Salem,  which  had  failed  before 
his  marriage.  She  adored  her  children,  and  it  was  a 
pleasure  to  her  to  clothe  their  little  bodies  in  garments 
of  her  own  handiwork.  She  taught  them,  read  aloud 
to  them.  There  were  now  three  noisy,  enterprising 
boys  to  entertain,  to  keep  out  of  mischief,  although 
their  pranks  never  seemed  to  annoy  their  mother  and 
seemed  deeply  to  interest  their  father  who,  joining  in 
their  romps,  called  them  pet  names. 

Tad  (Thomas),  born  April  4,  1853,  ms  father  nick- 
named "Tadpole"  when  a  baby  because  the  little  fel- 
low's head  seemed  larger  than  usual  and  the  abbrevia- 
tion, "Tad,"  clung  to  him  all  his  life. 

Mr.  Lincoln  never  interfered  in  the  management  of 
the  children  nor  with  Mary's  domestic  arrangements. 
Mary  chided  him  for  coming  home  in  the  rain  without 
an  umbrella;  she  was  fearful  about  his  health,  which 
her  brother-in-law,  Dr.  Wallace,  had  warned  her  to 
watch.  She  wanted  to  see  him  looking  his  best  and  was 
pleased  when  he  wore  broadcloth  and  a  glossy  tall  silk 
hat.    She  shrank  from  any  criticism  of  him  and  tried  to 


n6  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

make  him  more  conventional.  She  did  not  want  him  to 
answer  the  door-bell  and,  when  a  member  of  her  family 
said,  "Mary,  if  I  had  a  husband  with  a  mind  such  as 
yours  has,  I  would  not  care  what  he  did,"  she  was  very 
much  pleased,  and  answered,  "It  is  foolish;  a  very  small 
thing  to  complain  of." 

She  was  inordinately  proud  of  him  and  believed  in 
him  with  every  fiber  of  her  being.  She  longed  for  his 
success  with  all  her  heart  because  she  wished  the  whole 
world  to  see  him  with  her  eyes,  a  great  and  glorious 
human  being,  the  master  spirit  of  his  day  and  genera- 
tion. She  was  thrilled  as  she  saw  his  greatness  being 
more  and  more  recognized  by  his  fellow  citizens. 

While  her  life  was  filled  with  love  and  home  duties, 
she  still  found  time  to  read ;  she  kept  in  touch  with  cur- 
rent events  and  could  forecast  many  a  political  out- 
come; she  sympathized  in  all  the  political  aims  of  her 
husband,  advising  him  with  far-seeing  judgment  when 
he  turned  to  her  for  encouragement.  They  went  to 
church  together  on  Sunday,  and  she  felt  the  "poetry" 
in  his  religious  nature. 

Mary,  although  a  dyed-in-the-wool  Presbyterian  at 
the  time  she  came  to  Springfield,  as  the  guest  of  her 
sister  Elizabeth,  she,  naturally,  accompanied  her 
hostess  to  church.  Elizabeth,  like  Mary,  had  been 
brought  up  on  the  Shorter  Catechism  but  had  been  con- 


Robert  Smith  Todd,  Mary  Todd's  Father 
From   an  oil  portrait  painted  by  a  Philadelphia   artist   about   1836 


2 


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MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  117 

firmed  in  the  Episcopal  church  at  the  time  of  her  mar- 
riage to  Ninian  Edwards,  who  was  an  Episcopalian. 
Mary,  having  formed  her  church  affiliations  which 
were  the  same  as  those  of  her  sister,  continued  to  attend 
service  in  the  Episcopal  church  until  after  the  death  of 
her  little  son,  Edward  Baker,  February  20,  1850.  At 
that  time,  to  quote  a  letter  from  Mary's  cousin  John 
Todd  Stuart  to  the  Reverend  J.  A.  Reed : 

"Dr.  Smith,  then  pastor  of  the  First  Presbyterian  Church 
of  Springfield,  at  the  suggestion  of  a  lady  friend  of  theirs, 
called  upon  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Lincoln  and  that  first  visit  re- 
sulted in  great  intimacy  and  friendship  between  them,  last- 
ing until  the  death  of  Mr.  Lincoln  and  continuing  with 
Mrs.  Lincoln  until  the  death  of  Dr.  Smith.  ...  I  stated 
however  that  it  was  certainly  true  that  up  to  that  time  Mr. 
Lincoln  had  never  regularly  attended  any  place  of  religious 
worship,  but  that  after  that  he  rented  a  pew  in  the  First 
Presbyterian  Church,  and  that  his  family  constantly  at- 
tended the  worship  in  that  church  until  he  went  to  Washing- 
ton as  President.  This  much  I  said  at  that  time  and  can 
now  add  that  the  Hon.  Ninian  Edwards,  the  brother-in-law 
of  Mr.  Lincoln,  had  within  a  few  days  informed  me  that 
when  Mr.  Lincoln  commenced  attending  the  Presbyterian 
Church,  he  admitted  to  him  that  his  views  had  undergone 
the  change  claimed  by  Dr.  Smith.  I  would  further  say  that 
Dr.  Smith  was  a  man  of  very  great  ability  and  that  on  theo- 
logical and  metaphysical  subjects,  had  few  superiors  and 
not  many  equals.     Truthfulness  was  a  prominent  trait  in 


n8  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

Mr.  Lincoln's  character  and  it  would  be  impossible  for  any 
intimate  friend  of  his  to  believe  that  he  ever  aimed  to  de- 
ceive either  by  his  words  or  conduct. 

"Yours  truly, 

John  T.  Stuart." 

Mary  kept  up  her  French.  Mr.  Rankin  says,  in 
Personal  Recollections  of  Lincoln,  that  in  1856,  while 
sorting  over  magazines  and  pamphlets  in  Lincoln  and 
Herndon's  office,  he  came  across  in  the  Southern  Liter- 
ary Messenger  a  letter  from  their  Paris  correspondent 
giving  a  full  translation  of  Victor  Hugo's  address  on 
Capital  Punishment.  Knowing  Mrs.  Lincoln's  fond- 
ness for  French  literature,  he  called  at  the  Lincoln 
home  with  the  magazine  that  she  might  read  it.  The 
address  was  Victor  Hugo's  defense  of  his  son.  The 
translation  did  not  entirely  satisfy  Mrs.  Lincoln  and 
she  insisted  that  a  copy  of  the  speech  in  French  should 
be  sent  for.  She  thought  some  of  the  fire  and  feeling 
might  have  been  lost  in  the  English  translation.  As 
soon  as  the  French  copy  came  Mr.  Rankin  took  it  to 
her  together  with  the  translation  of  the  Paris  corre- 
spondent that  he  might  follow  the  thought,  while  she 
read  aloud  the  speech  as  delivered  in  French. 

"She  read  with  such  sympathy  that  instead  of  follow- 
ing the  English  translation,  I  could  only  sit  entranced 
by  the  force  and  effect  of  her  tones  as  she  translated  or 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  119 

at  times  read  Hugo's  inspiring  oration  in  his  native  lan- 
guage. She  was  an  excellent  reader  and  her  sympathy 
with  French  was  perfect."  This  incident  occurred 
fourteen  years  after  her  marriage.  She  did  not  neglect 
her  social  duties — pleasures  would  be  a  more  descrip- 
tive word, — for  she  loved  parties.  Amid  brilliant  lights, 
colorful  costumes,  flowers,  music,  and  dancing,  laughter 
and  gay  witty  speech,  she  was  in  her  element,  charmed 
and  charming.  She  sympathized  warmly  with  Mr. 
Lincoln  in  his  fondness  for  the  theater,  and  they  rarely 
missed  a  good  company  playing  in  Springfield.  Her 
schoolmate  Miss  Bodley  (afterwards  Mrs.  Owsley), 
who  was  with  her  for  four  years  at  Madame  Mentelle's, 
says:  "Mary  took  a  great  interest  in  school  theatricals 
and  always  took  a  prominent  part  in  them." 

"That  reminds  me  of  my  first  thought  when  I  heard 
that  Mary  had  married  a  poor  young  lawyer  in  Spring- 
field. Of  course  we  girls  at  Madame  Mentelle's  used 
to  discuss  our  future  husbands,  laying  down  the  law 
pretty  explicitly  as  to  what  they  would  have  to  be  and 
what  we  should  expect  of  them.  Mary  Todd  stipulated 
that  her  choice  should  be  willing  and  able  to  let  her 
see  as  much  of  the  theater  as  she  wanted,  and  beyond 
that  she  did  not  expect  to  be  too  particular.  So  when 
I  heard  she  had  chosen  a  struggling  young  lawyer  (the 
plainest  looking  man  in  Springfield,  her  sister  wrote 


120  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

me),  I  wondered  how  she  was  going  to  manage  about 

the  theater-going." 

While  Mary  was  courageous  and  daring  about  most 
things,  a  thunderstorm  was  terrifying  to  her.  Mr. 
Lincoln,  knowing  this,  at  the  first  muttering  of  thunder 
would  leave  his  law  office  and  hurry  home  to  quiet  her 
fears  and  comfort  her  until  the  storm  was  over. 

Emilie  Todd,  Mary's  sister,  was  now  married  to  Ben 
Hardin  Helm  (son  of  Governor  Helm  of  Kentucky), 
and  Mary  kept  up  a  desultory  correspondence  with  her. 
Mary  was  eighteen  years  older  than  Emilie,  so  in  these 
letters  she  dwells  on  the  gossip  of  the  younger  set,  the 
parties  and  balls,  the  beaux  and  belles,  the  news  that 
she  thinks  will  be  of  greatest  interest  to  her  young 
sister,  interspersed  with  family  gossip  and  politics 
always  interesting  to  Kentucky  women  from  the  cradle 
to  the  grave.  These  letters  are  not  dated  except  in 
respect  to  the  day  of  the  month,  but  they  probably  came 
in  the  order  named  and  were  written  in  1856  and  1857. 

"Springfield, 
February  16. 
"Think  not,  dear  Emilie,  altho'  weeks  have  passed  since 
your  welcome  letter  was  received  that  you  had  been  for- 
gotten or  that  I  have  not  daily  proposed  writing  you,  yet 
something  has  always  occurred  to  oppose  my  good  resolu- 
tions.    This   winter    has   certainly   passed    most   rapidly. 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  121 

Spring,  if  we  can  call  the  month  of  March  such,  is  nearly 
here.  The  first  part  of  the  winter  was  unusually  quiet 
owing  to  so  much  sickness  among  children.  With  scarlet 
fever  in  several  families  some  two  or  three  children  were 
swept  away. 

"Within  the  last  three  weeks  there  has  been  a  party 
almost  every  night  and  some  two  or  three  grand  fetes  are 
coming  off  this  week.  I  may  perhaps  surprise  you  when 
I  mention  that  I  am  recovering  from  the  slight  fatigue  of 
a  very  large  and  I  really  believe  a  very  handsome  enter- 
tainment, at  least  our  friends  flatter  us  by  saying  so.  About 
five  hundred  were  invited,  yet  owing  to  an  unlucky  rain  three 
hundred  only  favored  us  by  their  presence  and  the  same 
evening  in  Jacksonville,  Colonel  Warren  gave  a  bridal 
party  to  his  son  who  married  Miss  Birchall  of  this  place 
which  occasion  robbed  us  of  some  of  our  friends.  You 
will  think  we  have  enlarged  our  borders  since  you  were 
here.  Three  evenings  since,  Governor  Bissell  gave  a  very 
large  party,  I  thought  of  you  frequently  that  evening  when 
I  saw  so  many  of  your  acquaintances  beautifully  dressed 
and  dancing  away  very  happily  and  as  enquiries  were  made 
about  you  during  the  evening  by  both  beaux  and  belles 
you  could  not  fail  to  be  remembered.  I  wish  you  would 
write  me  more  frequently  and  tell  me  all  about  yourself. 
You  have  so  much  leisure  and  such  a  literary  husband  that 
you  will  become  a  regular  blue.  Your  old  laugh  will  soften 
the  solemnity  of  such  a  character  and  the  old  Emilie  of 
former  times  will  show  herself.    Miss  Dunlap  is  spending 


122  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

the  winter  with  her  sister  Mrs.  Mc  looking  very  pretty  but 
the  beaux  do  not  appear  so  numerous  as  the  winter  you 
passed  here.  Within  the  last  two  or  three  weeks  I  have 
often  wished  that  Dedee  x  was  here,  yet  the  first  part  of  the 
winter  was  so  quiet  that  I  feared  she  would  not  have  en- 
joyed herself.  I  hope  another  winter  both  Kitty2  and 
Dedee  will  come  out  and  we  will  endeavor  to  make  it  as 
pleasant  as  possible  for  them. 

"Dr.  and  Mrs.  Brown  also  Mr.  Dwight  Brown  and  his 
wife,  are  residing  here.  The  former  has  charge  of  the 
First  Church,  whether  the  arrangement  will  suit  all  around 
remains  to  be  proven.  I  must  hasten  to  conclude  as  I  am 
interrupted  by  company.  Hoping  to  be  remembered  to 
your  husband,  I  remain 

Yours  truly, 

Mary  Lincoln." 

"Springfield, 
September  20. 
"My  dear  Emilie: 

"So  long  a  time  has  passed  since  your  last  letter  that  I 
scarcely  know  how  to  ask  you  to  excuse  my  silence  .  .  . 
I  only  pray  you  to  return  good  for  evil  and  let  me  hear  from 
you  more  frequently.  Do  write  me  all  the  news,  I  feel 
anxious  to  hear  from  you.  The  summer  has  so  strangely 
and  rapidly  passed  away.  Some  portion  of  it  was  spent 
most  pleasantly  in  traveling  East.     We  visited  Niagara, 

1  Elodie  Todd,  younger  sister. 

2  Katherine  Bodley  Todd,  youngest  of  the  Todd  sisters. 


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MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  123 

Canada,  New  York  and  other  points  of  interest.  When 
I  saw  the  large  steamers  at  the  New  York  landings  I  felt 
in  my  heart  inclined  to  sigh  that  poverty  was  my  portion. 
How  I  long  to  go  to  Europe  I  often  laugh  and  tell  Mr. 
Lincoln  that  I  am  determined  my  next  husband  shall  be  rich. 
uYou  can  scarcely  imagine  a  place  improving  more 
rapidly  than  ours.  Almost  palaces  of  homes  have  been 
reared  since  you  were  here,  hundreds  of  houses  have  been 
going  up  this  season  and  some  of  them  very  elegant.  Gov- 
ernor Matteson's  house  is  just  being  completed,  the  whole 
place  has  cost  him,  he  says,  $100,000.  but  he  is  now  worth 
a  million.  I  saw  Elizabeth1  this  afternoon.  Julia  and 
Mr.  Baker2  are  in  Peoria  at  the  fair,  from  thence  go  to 
St.  Louis.  At  the  County  fair  here  last  week  Julia's  last 
quilt  (which  makes  her  third  one)  is  a  very  handsome  silk 
one,  took  the  premium.  She  trusts  for  the  like  fate  at 
Peoria  and  St.  Louis.  She  has  nothing  but  her  dear  hus- 
band and  silk  quilts  to  occupy  her  time.  How  different  the 
daily  routine  of  some  of  our  lives.  It  is  getting  very  late 
dear  Emilie  and  I  must  close  my  little  billet.  Shall  I  apolo- 
gize for  this  scrawl?  I  know  I  ought  to  be  ashamed  of  it. 
When  you  read  this  sit  down  and  like  a  good  little  sister 
write  me  a  good  long  letter  all  about  yourself.  Mr.  Lincoln 
is  not  at  home.  This  makes  the  third  week  he  has  been 
in  Chicago. 

"Yours  affectionately, 

Mary  L." 

1  Her  sister  Mrs.  Ninian  Edwards. 

2  Mrs.  Edwards'  daughter  and  son-in-law. 


124  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

"Springfield, 
November  23. 
With  much  pleasure,  my  dear  Emilie,  I  acknowledge  the 
receipt  of  one  of  your  ever  acceptable  letters,  and  notwith- 
standing many  weeks  have  passed  since  writing  you,  I  have 
frequently  intended  doing  so  and  you  have  been  often  in 
my  thoughts.  Mr.  Edwards  1  expressed  great  pleasure  at 
meeting  you  last  summer.  You  know  you  have  a  very 
warm  place  in  his  heart.  You  have  been  such  a  wanderer 
around  with  your  good  husband  and  a  letter  might  have 
failed  to  reach  you.  I  must  try  to  devise  some  excuses  for 
my  past  silence,  forgetfulness  you  know  it  could  not  be. 
Besides  there  is  a  great  deal  in  getting  out  of  the  habit  of 
letter  writing;  once  I  was  very  fond  of  it.  Nothing  pleases 
me  better  than  to  receive  a  letter  from  an  absent  friend,  so 
remember  dear  Emilie,  when  you  desire  to  be  particularly 
acceptable,  write  me  one  of  your  agreeable  missives  and  do 
not  wait  for  a  return  of  each  from  a  staid  matron  and 
moreover  the  mother  of  three  noisy  boys.  Your  husband 
like  some  of  the  rest  of  ours  has  a  great  taste  for  politics 
and  has  taken  much  interest  in  the  late  contest  which  has 
resulted  very  much  as  I  expected,  not  hoped,  although 
Mr.  Lincoln  is  or  was  a  Fremont  man,  you  must  not  include 
him  with  so  many  of  those  who  belong  to  that  party,  an 
Abolitionist.  In  principle  he  is  far  from  it,  all  he  desires 
is  that  slavery  shall  not  be  extended,  let  it  remain  where  it 
is.  My  weak  woman's  heart  was  too  Southern  in  feeling 
to  sympathize  with  any  but  Filmore.     I  have  always  been 

1  Ninian  Edwards,  brother-in-law. 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  125 

his  great  admirer;  he  made  so  good  a  President  and  is  so 
just  a  man  and  feels  the  necessity  of  keeping  the  foreigners 
within  bounds.  If  some  of  you  Kentuckians  had  to  deal 
with  the  "Wild  Irish"  as  we  housekeepers  are  some  times 
called  upon  to  do,  the  South  would  certainly  elect  Mr. 
Filmore  next  time.  The  Democrats  in  our  State  have 
been  defeated  in  their  Governor  so  there  is  a  crumb  of 
comfort  for  each  and  all.  What  day  is  so  dark  that  there 
is  no  ray  of  sunshine  to  penetrate  the  gloom?  Speaking  of 
politics,  Governors,  etc.,  reminds  me  of  your  questions  rela- 
tive to  Lydia  M.  The  hour  of  her  patient  lover's  deliver- 
ance is  at  hand,  they  are  to  be  married  privately  I  expect. 
Some  of  us  who  had  a  handsome  dress  for  the  season 
thought  it  would  be  in  good  taste  for  Mrs.  Matteson  in 
consideration  of  their  being  about  to  leave  their  present 
habitation  to  give  a  general  reception.  Lydia  has  always 
been  so  retiring  that  she  would  be  very  averse  to  a  public 
display.  This  fall  in  visiting  Mrs.  M.  I  met  a  sister  of 
Mrs.  McGinnis,  a  very  pretty  well  bred  woman  from 
Joliet,  she  spoke  of  having  met  Margaret  Kellogg *  in  Ken- 
tucky. Frances  Wallace2  returned  two  or  three  days  ago 
from  her  visit  to  Pennsylvania  where  she  has  been  spending 
the  fall.  Mr.  Edwards'  family  are  well.  Mr.  Baker  and 
Julia3  are  still  with  them.  Miss  lies  was  married  some 
three  weeks  since  (I  expect  you  do  not  remember  her)  which 
gave  rise  to  some  two  or  three  parties.    Mr.  Scott  is  fre- 

1  Margaret  Todd  Kellogg,  sister  of  Mrs.  Lincoln. 

2  Frances  Todd,  another  sister. 

8  Julia  Edwards  Baker,   daughter  of  Ninian  Edwards. 


126  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

quently  here  rather  playing  the  devoted  to  Julia.1  I  suspect, 
whether  anything  serious  I  do  not  know,  the  family  would 
not  be  averse  to  him.  Charley  R.  was  on  a  visit  to  him  in 
Lexington.  He,  it  is  said,  is  to  be  married  this  winter  to 
Jennie  Barrett,  a  lovely  girl,  you  remember  her. 

"I  am  sorry  to  hear  that  dear  mother  is  frequently  indis- 
posed.   I  hope  she  has  recovered  from  her  lameness.    Tell 

her  when  you  see  her  that  our  old  acquaintance  Mr. 

took  tea  with  us  an  evening  or  two  since  and  made  par- 
ticular enquiries  about  her.  Still  as  rough  and  uncultivated 
as  ever  although  some  years  since  married  an  accomplished 
Georgia  belle  with  the  advantages  of  some  winters  in 
Washington.  Mother  and  I  when  last  together  spoke  of 
our  Minister,  Mr.  Smith,  who  finding  his  salary  of  some 
$1600  inadequate  has  resigned  the  Church.  Uncle  and 
some  few  others  are  desirous  of  getting  Dr.  Brown  your 
former  pastor  in  Lexington.  Within  the  last  year  both  he 
and  his  wife  have  been  a  great  deal  here.  He  has  purchased 
land  and  appears  rather  identified  with  the  Country. 

"But  I  am  speaking  of  things  that  will  not  interest  you 
in  the  least.  If  you  do  not  bring  yourself  and  your  husband 
to  see  us  very  soon  we  will  think  you  are  not  as  proud  of 
him  as  rumor  says  you  should  be.  Do  write  soon  in  return 
for  this  long  and  I  fear  dull  letter  from  yours  truly, 

Mary  Lincoln." 

In  1857  Ben  Hardin  Helm  (Mary  Lincoln's  brother- 
in-law)  had  occasion  to  go  to  Springfield  to  argue  a 

1  Do  not  know  what  Julia  she  refers  to,  but  not  a  member  of  her  family. 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  127 

law  case.  He  promptly  called  on  the  Lincolns  with 
many  messages  from  "Little  Sister."  Mary,  with  warm 
cordiality,  held  out  both  hands  to  him,  and  turning 
impulsively  to  Mr.  Lincoln,  said,  "So  this  tall  young 
Kentuckian  is  Little  Sister's  husband;  he  shall  have  a 
double  welcome  as  a  Kentuckian  and  as  a  brother." 
"And  also  as  the  grandson  of  the  Kitchen  Knife 
Whetted  on  a  Brick,"  added  Mr.  Lincoln.  "Well," 
said  Mary  to  Helm,  "in  spite  of  the  fact  that  the  speech 
in  Congress  which  fastened  that  soubriquet  on  your 
grandfather,  Mr.  Ben  Hardin,  was  made  against  our 
political  idol,  Mr.  Clay,  I  have  always  had  a  sincere 
admiration  for  your  grandfather's  ability  to  cut  roughly 
but  cut  deep." 

Mr.  Lincoln  quietly  slipped  out  of  the  room  and  sent 
to  the  hotel  for  Helm's  luggage,  insisting  that  he  must 
make  their  house  his  home  while  in  Springfield. 

Helm  spent  a  delightful  week  with  them  and  he 
and  his  brother-in-law  formed  a  friendship  which  was 
more  like  the  affection  of  brothers  than  the  ordinary 
liking  of  men.  Lincoln  and  his  young  brother-in-law 
had  much  of  mutual  interest  to  talk  about.  Lincoln's 
father  (Thomas  Lincoln)  had  settled  in  Elizabethtown, 
Hardin  county,  Kentucky,  and  there  had  plied  his  trade 
of  cabinet-maker  and  carpenter  before  he  bought  his 
farm  near  Hodgenville,  about  ten  miles  from  Eliza- 


128  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

bethtown,  where  Lincoln  was  born.  Helm's  father 
owned  a  large  body  of  land  one  mile  from  Elizabeth- 
town.  While  Helm  was  twenty-three  years  younger 
than  Lincoln,  he  had  all  of  the  traditions  of  Hardin 
county  at  his  finger  tips  and  could  answer  Lincoln's 
interested  questions. 

Lincoln,  Helm,  and  Mary  animatedly  discussed  the 
political  situation.  Both  Helm  and  Mary  came  of 
slave-owning  people  who  personally  had  never  seen 
cruelty  practiced,  who  both  had  been  nursed  by  loving 
black  mammies  whose  word  was  law  and  must  be 
obeyed  implicitly  by  the  children  under  her  charge. 

Helm  feared  the  freeing  of  the  slaves  would  ruin  the 
South.  Mary  agreed  with  her  husband  that  the  institu- 
tion of  slavery  was  a  blot  on  the  country.  Neither  at 
that  time  dreamed  of  sudden  emancipation.  Lincoln 
and  Helm  realized  and  deeply  deplored  the  bitter- 
ness and  hatred  growing  up  between  the  two  sections 
of  the  country.  While  Lincoln  was  a  Republican  and 
Helm  a  Southern-rights  Democrat,  they  were  thought- 
ful, conservative  men;  both  were  born  in  the  same 
State,  within  a  few  miles  of  each  other;  both  had  a  full 
understanding  of  the  conditions  and  prejudices  of  the 
Southern  people. 

Lincoln  declared,  "They  are  just  what  we  would  be 
in  their  situation.    If  slavery  did  not  exist  among  them, 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  129 

they  would  not  introduce  it.  If  it  did  now  exist  among 
us,  we  should  not  instantly  give  it  up.  I  surely  will 
not  blame  them  for  not  doing  what  I  should  not  know 
how  to  do  myself.  If  all  earthly  power  were  given  me, 
I  should  not  know  what  to  do  as  to  the  existing  insti- 
tution. My  first  impulse  would  be  to  free  all  the  slaves 
and  send  them  to  Liberia  to  their  own  native  land.  But 
a  moment's  reflection  would  convince  me  that  ...  its 
sudden  execution  is  impossible,  etc." 

"I  regret  as  you  do,"  said  Helm  to  Lincoln,  "that 
the  importation  of  slaves  into  the  South  was  ever 
allowed  but  we  must  realize  that  under  the  guarantees 
of  the  Constitution  an  immense  amount  of  wealth  in 
the  Southern  States  has  been  wrapt  up  in  slaves,  indeed, 
slaves  must  constitute  nearly  half  of  all  the  property 
owned  in  the  South."  "But,"  cried  Mary,  "this  rich 
government  would  compensate  the  owners  for  their 
slaves  and  in  time  send  the  negroes  back  to  their  native 
land."  "No,"  said  Helm,  "the  Northern  Abolitionists 
will  never  consent  to  that  plan.  They  have  already 
declared  it  would  be  a  disgrace  to  the  nation  to  pay 
for  emancipated  slaves.  The  South  bought  the  slaves 
in  good  faith," — he  laughed,  "most  people  have  a 
fancy  for  holding  on  to  their  property  even,"  he  added 
gravely,  "if  much  trouble  comes  of  it." 

Lincoln  reminded  Helm  that  the  Abolitionists  were 


130  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

a  comparatively  small  body  of  extremists  and  so  did 
not  represent  Northern  opinion.  He  believed  that 
compensated  emancipation  would  be  accepted  at  least 
by  the  Border  States.  "Never  by  the  Cotton  States," 
cried  Helm,  who  had  traveled  among  them.  "They 
insist  upon  their  Constitutional  rights  and  indepen- 
dence of  Federal  power  where  they  are  concerned." 

Helm  and  Mr.  Lincoln  were  very  congenial;  though 
differing  in  politics,  their  ideas  of  law,  philosophy,  and 
serious  aims  in  life  brought  them  very  close  together. 
Mary  and  Mr.  Lincoln  treated  their  young  brother-in- 
law  with  so  much  kindness  and  affection  and  considera- 
tion that  he  felt  they  had  indeed  accepted  him  as  a 
brother.  And  for  Mary,  who  had  taken  him  so  warm- 
heartedly into  her  home  and  heart  on  his  own  account, 
as  well  as  Emilie's,  he  had  nothing  but  praise. 

It  was  a  visit  that  he  constantly  recalled  to  his  wife 
with  the  greatest  pleasure.  Mrs.  Lincoln  was  his  ideal 
of  a  hostess,  and  Mr.  Lincoln  an  earnest,  high-minded 
statesman.  Helm  often  spoke  of  Mr.  Lincoln's  seri- 
ousness, saying  that  in  their  talks  together  he  had  not 
told  a  single  anecdote  or  joke  such  as  he  was  credited 
with  uttering  on  almost  every  occasion. 


CHAPTER  VII 

WASHINGTON  LOOMS 

AT  THE  end  of  his  single  term  in  Congress  in  1849, 
*  ^  Abraham  Lincoln  retired  permanently,  as  he 
thought,  from  politics;  for  five  years  thereafter  he  de- 
voted his  time  and  talents  to  the  practice  of  law. 

He  and  Mary  during  this  time  read  and  studied 
much  together.  They  were  both  fully  abreast  of  the 
times  in  the  world  of  politics.  Newspapers  and  edi- 
torials were  alive  and  exciting.  The  repeal  of  the 
Missouri  Compromise  in  May,  1854,  Put  through  by 
the  Democrats  under  the  leadership  of  Lincoln's  in- 
veterate political  rival  Stephen  A.  Douglas,  stirred 
Lincoln  and  Mary  to  the  very  core,  and  Lincoln  was 
spurred  into  immediate  action.  He  returned  to  polit- 
ical life  and  helped  to  form  the  Republican  party. 
The  old  Whig  party,  which  had  avoided  making  an 
issue  of  the  slavery  question,  now  gave  a  last  expiring 
gasp  and  the  former  Whigs  in  the  North  united  with 
those  Democrats  and  Free  Soilers  having  anti-slavery 
principles.  Many  of  them  were  not  Abolitionists. 
They  were  united  on  the  firm  platform  that  slavery 
should  not  be  extended. 

Hot  heads  now,  both  North  and  South,  were  threat- 

131 


132  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

ening  the  country  with  disunion.  There  was  no  epithet 
too  insulting  for  the  North  to  fling  at  the  South,  and 
the  South  flamed  with  answering  vituperation  of  the 
North;  each  section  inflaming  the  passions  of  the  other 
day  by  day  with  more  bitter  hatred.  The  founders 
of  the  Republic  and  the  Holy  Scriptures  were  appealed 
to  by  ardent  partisans  on  both  sides  of  the  question. 
The  press,  politicians,  authors,  ministers  of  the  gospel, 
all  played  their  part.    To  quote  a  few: 

The  Boston  Liberator,  January  11,  1855,  contained 
this  statement:  "Mr.  Giddings 1  says  truly  that  the  dis- 
solution of  the  Union  has  long  been  held  up  as  a  scare- 
crow by  the  South ;  but  when  he  adds  that  the  friends 
of  liberty  have  never  demanded  it,  his  statement  is  un- 
true unless  he  means  to  confine  it  to  his  political  associ- 
ates who  are  but  compromisers  at  best.  We  demand 
nothing  short  of  a  dissolution,  absolute  and  immedi- 
ate. ...  At  the  twenty-third  annual  meeting  of  the 
Massachusetts  Anti-Slavery  Society,  which  convened 
at  Boston  on  the  24th  of  January,  1856,  it  was 

"Resolved,  that  the  one  great  issue  before  the  country 
is  the  dissolution  of  the  Union  in  comparison  with 
which  all  other  issues  with  the  slave  power  are  as  dust 
in  the  balance.  Therefore,  we  will  give  ourselves  to 
the  work  of  annulling  this  covenant  with  death,  as 

1  Joshua  R.  Giddings  of  Ohio. 


Seal  Owned  and  U:ed  by  Mrs.  Alexander  Humphreys,  Mary  Todd's 
Stepgrandmother 

The  handle   is   amethyst,   the  wheel   gold,   containing   six   seals — congratula- 
tion,   greeting,    farewell,    condolence,    friendship    neglected,    and    monogram 


Home  of  Robert  S.  Todd  on  Main  Street,  Lexington,  Kentucky 

Long  since  given  up  to  commercial  uses,  it  has  fallen  sadly  from  its  once 
desirable  estate.  At  the  left  of  the  house  there  was  a  conservatory  opening 
from  the  library  into  a  large  formal  flower  garden  covering  the  entire  block. 
There  for  eight  years  of  Mary  Todd's  life  she  played  and  studied  and 
gathered  roses  to  tuck  coquettishly  in  her  chestnut  curls 


Mrs.  Ninian  Edwards 

Mary  Todd's   sister   Elizabeth,    at   whose   home   in    Springfield,   Illinois,    she 

was  married  to  Abraham  Lincoln;  from  the  same  home  she  was  borne  to  her 

last  resting-place   by  the  side  of  her  husband 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  133 

essential  to  our  own  innocency  and  the  speedy  and  ever- 
lasting overthrow  of  the  slave  system." 

Wendell  Philips,  on  that  occasion,  spoke  in  favor 
of  disunion:  "I  entirely  accord  with  the  sentiment  of 
the  last  resolution.  I  think  all  we  have  to  do  is  to  pre- 
pare the  public  mind  by  the  daily  and  hourly  presenta- 
tion of  the  doctrine  of  disunion." 

On  the  Fourth  of  July,  1856,  at  a  mass  meeting 
held  at  Farmington,  Massachusetts,  several  disunion 
speeches  were  made.  William  Lloyd  Garrison  said, 
"Let  us  then  to-day,  rejecting  as  wild  and  chimerical 
all  suggestions  and  contrivances  and  propositions  for 
restraining  slavery  in  its  present  limits,  while  extend- 
ing protection  to  it  in  fifteen  of  the  thirty-one  States, 
register  our  pledge  anew  before  Heaven  and  the  World 
that  we  will  do  what  in  us  lies  to  effect  the  eternal 
overthrow  of  this  blood-stained  Union,  that  our  en- 
slaved countrymen  may  find  a  sure  deliverance,  and  we 
may  no  longer  be  answerable  for  their  blood." 

J.  B.  Swansey  then  addressed  the  meeting  and  wound 
up  his  speech  by  saying,  "I  believe  that  the  duty  of 
every  true  man  is  now  to  take  the  ground  of  secession." 

Horace  Greeley,  editor  of  the  New  York  Tribune 
and  as  such,  one  of  the  leaders  of  the  disunion  party  in 
the  North,  said,  "The  Union  is  not  worth  supporting 
in  connection  with  the  South." 


i34  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

N.  P.  Banks,  governor  of  Massachusetts,  said,  "I  am 
willing  in  a  certain  state  of  circumstances  to  let  the 
Union  slide." 

Rufus  Spaulding  declared,  "In  the  case  of  the  alter- 
native being  presented,  of  the  continuance  of  slavery  or 
a  dissolution  of  the  Union,  I  am  for  dissolution  and  I 
care  not  how  soon  it  comes." 

A  leading  Republican  newspaper  during  the  cam- 
paign of  1856  when  John  C.  Fremont  was  the  standard 
bearer,  of  the  new  party,  bore  the  motto  in  headlines, 
"No  Union  with  slave  holders!  The  United  States 
Constitution  is  a  covenant  with  death  and  an  agreement 
with  Hell!" 

Joshua  R.  Giddings,  member  of  Congress,  said:  "I 
look  forward  to  the  day  when  there  shall  be  a  servile 
insurrection  in  the  South;  when  the  black  man  armed 
with  British  bayonets  and  led  by  British  officers  shall 
assert  his  freedom,  and  wage  a  war  of  extermination 
against  his  master.  When  the  torch  of  the  incendiary 
shall  light  up  the  towns  and  cities  of  the  South  and 
blot  out  the  last  vestige  of  slavery.  And  though  I  may 
not  laugh  at  their  calamity,  nor  mock  when  their  fear 
cometh,  yet,  I  shall  hail  it  as  the  dawn  of  a  political 
millennium." 

And  while  hatred  flourished  in  the  North  and  it  was 
no  better  in  the  South,  the  South  asserted,  "Garrison 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  135 

and  Phillips  are  undoubtedly  right,  and  as  honest  as 
they  are  right  when  they  pronounce  the  Constitution 
'pro-slavery' ;  it  is  pro-slavery  and,  therefore,  they  curse 
it,  and  curse  the  Union  of  which  it  is  the  bond." 

The  South  claimed  that  the  North,  after  finding 
slave  labor  unsuited  to  the  Northern  climate,  had  dis- 
posed of  her  slaves  to  the  South,  instead  of  freeing 
them ;  that  now,  no  longer  burdened  with  slaves,  North- 
erners had  a  suddenly  awakened  conscience  as  to  the 
iniquity  of  the  slave-owning  tyrants  to  whom  they  had 
sold  their  slaves,  and  whose  money  they  were  jingling 
in  their  pockets  from  their  profitable  trade.  The  South 
claimed  that  the  North  feared  that  by  the  extension 
of  slavery  into  newly  admitted  territory  the  South 
would  have  a  preponderance  of  votes  in  Congress  and 
the  Senate,  and  therefore  the  balance  of  power  in  the 
Union. 

The  Northern  fanatics  quoted  the  Bible  in  support 
of  their  arguments  against  slavery.  The  Southern  fan- 
atics found  just  as  many  passages  in  the  Bible  to  justify 
them  in  the  possession  of  slaves.  There  were,  how- 
ever, conservative  men  on  both  sides  who  were  willing 
and  anxious  to  make  compromises  to  save  the  Union 
intact. 

Horatio  Seymour,  of  New  York,  said :  "When  our 
fathers,  on  common  battlefields  were  struggling  for 


136  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

common  rights,  slavery  existed  in  all  our  colonies;  there 
was  no  exception ;  it  was  on  every  rood  of  ground.  We 
had  no  difficulty  on  account  of  slavery,  then,  in  achiev- 
ing our  independence,  but  since  then  slavery  has  been 
abolished  over  more  than  one-half  of  this  land  of  ours. 
It  is  now  in  comparatively  contracted  limits,  and  now 
we  hear  that  it  must  lead  to  alienation,  or  the  disrup- 
tion of  this  great  confederacy.  I  fear  we  of  the  North 
are  unjust,  and  not  altogether  courageous,  in  our  treat- 
ment of  our  brethren  of  the  South.  How  came  slavery 
in  these  United  States?  Who  brought  the  Negro  from 
Africa?  The  South  never  had  ships.  The  men  of 
New  York,  where  I  came  from,  the  men  of  Massa- 
chusetts and  the  men  of  Rhode  Island  were  those  who 
stole  them  from  their  homes  and  brought  them  over  to 
the  shambles  here.  .  .  . 

"When  the  Constitution  of  the  United  States  was 
formed  and  when  the  delegates  from  the  different  States 
met  in  convention,  the  question  of  slavery  was  there 
and  it  was  asked  when  shall  the  slave  trade  be  put  an 
end  to?  Georgia  said,  Now.  Virginia  said,  Now. 
South  Carolina  said,  Not  yet.  Connecticut,  Not  yet, 
Rhode  Island,  Not  yet,  Massachusetts,  Not  yet,  New 
Hampshire  said,  Not  yet,  the  slave  trade  is  profitable. 
If  you  will  read  Minor's  History  of  Massachusetts  you 
will  learn  that  the  great  business  of  New  England  was 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  137 

at  one  time  the  manufacture  of  rum,  pure  rum,  and 
when  they  made  rum,  they  took  it  to  the  coast  of  Africa 
and  exchanged  it  for  slaves.  The  slavers  landed  their 
cargoes  on  some  unfrequented  shores  of  the  Southern 
coast,  and  forthwith  the  entire  South  was  charged  with 
complicity  in  the  slave  trade." 

Lincoln  was  called  half-hearted  in  the  North  because 
he  persisted  in  his  belief  in  the  rights  of  the  Slave 
States  guaranteed  by  the  Constitution.  His  principal 
aim  in  life  now  was  to  save  the  Union  if  he  could.  "If 
I  could  save  the  Union  by  emancipating  all  the  slaves, 
I  would  do  so;  if  I  could  save  it  by  emancipating  none 
of  them,  I  would  do  it;  if  I  could  save  it  by  emancipat- 
ing some  and  not  others,  I  would  do  that  too."  Few 
men  were  as  single  in  purpose  and  as  unswerving  as 
Lincoln  to  effect  the  preservation  of  the  Union. 

In  1857  the  Republican  party  had,  shortly  after  the 
inauguration  of  President  Buchanan,  received  a  stag- 
gering blow  from  a  totally  unexpected  quarter  when  it 
was  decided  by  Chief  Justice  Taney  and  a  majority  of 
the  Judges  of  the  Supreme  Court  of  the  United  States 
that  the  exclusion  of  slavery  from  any  part  of  the  terri- 
tories was  unconstitutional,  and  in  the  Dred  Scott  case 
the  Chief  Justice  and  his  associates  decided  that  the 
negro,  Dred  Scott,  was  not  a  citizen  and  also  not  free, 
because  the  Missouri  Compromise  had  always  been 


138  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

void  and  unconstitutional.  Chief  Justice  Taney  de- 
clared that  the  makers  of  the  Constitution  and  the 
authors  of  the  Declaration  of  Independence  had  not 
meant  the  negro  when  they  used  the  words  "man," 
"persons,"  "citizens."  (In  several  states  at  that  time, 
free  negroes  were  exercising  the  right  to  vote.)  While 
this  opinion,  coming  as  it  did  from  the  highest  tribunal 
in  the  land,  confirmed  the  South  in  the  legality  of  their 
policy  of  slave-holding,  it  raised  an  angry  storm  of  pro- 
test in  the  North.  To  be  assured  by  the  Supreme  Court 
of  the  United  States  that  the  platform  of  the  Republi- 
can party  was  unconstitutional,  filled  them  with  furious 
indignation.  The  Republicans  were  embarrassed  and 
deeply  depressed. 

The  South  jubilant  that  States'  Rights  had  been  vin- 
dicated. The  South  had  always  feared  a  centralization 
of  government  in  the  North  as  being  sectional,  and 
last,  but  not  least,  property  (slave  or  otherwise)  owned 
under  the  guarantees  of  the  Constitution  could  not 
legally  be  taken  away  without  compensation  and  the 
consent  of  the  owner. 

Mr.  Lincoln,  thoughtful  and  conservative,  declared, 
"And  no  matter  what  our  grievance,  even  though 
Kansas  shall  come  in  as  a  Slave  State;  and  no  matter 
what  theirs,  even  if  we  shall  restore  the  Compromise 
we  will  say  to  the  Southern  disunionists,  we  won't  go 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  139 

out  of  the  Union  and  you  shan't."  This  "you  shan't" 
the  hot  headed  Southerners  took  to  be  a  challenge. 
Calmer  Southerners,  who  were  for  preserving  the 
Union  by  some  sort  of  compromise,  were  insulted  and 
called  Abolitionists.  The  storm  of  protest  raised  in  the 
North  by  this  decision  of  the  Supreme  Court  caused 
Judge  Douglas  to  hasten  to  Illinois  to  calm  his  con- 
stituents. Douglas  was  handsome,  an  orator,  and  had 
great  personal  magnetism;  he  was  already  a  brilliant 
success  and  his  party  thought  of  him  as  good  timber  for 
President  of  the  United  States,  at  no  distant  time. 
"What,"  exclaimed  Douglas,  "oppose  the  Supreme 
Court!  Is  it  not  sacred?  To  resist  it  is  anarchy." 
Mr.  Lincoln  answered  this  speech  of  Douglas  with  such 
forcible  arguments  against  the  decision  of  the  Judges 
in  the  Dred  Scott  case  that  he  appealed  to  the  common 
sense  and  fairness  of  his  audiences  and  won  the  praise 
of  even  the  most  radical  leaders  in  the  Republican 
party. 

Lincoln  was  growing  more  and  more  popular  with 
his  party.  In  1858  he  and  Douglas  were  opposing 
candidates  for  United  States  senator  from  Illinois  and, 
as  Douglas  was  rather  evading  the  question  of  slavery 
which  was  uppermost  in  Lincoln's  mind,  he  challenged 
Douglas  to  a  series  of  joint  debates  in  which  he  pro- 
posed to  make  Douglas  come  out  in  the  open  and  de- 


HO  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

clare   his    real   sentiments.     Those    debates    are    now 

famous  in  history. 

Mary  Lincoln  urged  her  husband  to  pit  his  strength 
against  Douglas,  and  when  Lincoln  was  rather  de- 
spondent and  felt  that  the  race  of  ambition  had  been  a 
failure — a  flat  failure  for  him,  and  a  splendid  success 
for  Douglas — Mary  said  with  spirit,  her  head  thrown 
back  and  her  eyes  shining  with  pride,  "Mr.  Douglas  is 
a  very  little,  little  giant  by  the  side  of  my  tall  Kentuck- 
ian,  and  intellectually  my  husband  towers  above 
Douglas  just  as  he  does  physically."  Mary's  faith  in 
her  husband  encouraged  him  and  gave  him  more  con- 
fidence in  his  own  strength;  for  Mary  had  a  wonderful 
and  peculiar  influence  over  this  great  man,  and  his 
confidence  in  her  judgment  was  seldom  at  fault.  Mary 
was  filled  with  indignation  when  anyone  presumed  to 
say  her  husband  was  an  Abolitionist,  especially  after 
Lincoln  himself  had  repudiated  such  an  idea.  She  read 
and  applauded  all  of  Lincoln's  speeches  in  this  debate. 
"How  foolish,"  she  cried,  "for  Douglas  to  think  that 
because  you  demand  justice  for  the  negro  you  are  in 
favor  of  abolition  or  that  you  would  ever,  in  any  event, 
countenance  social  equality  with  a  race  so  far  inferior 
to  your  own.     He  is  insolent,"  she  cried. 

"There  are  many  free  negroes  in  the  South  and  no 
thought  in  the  minds  of  whites  or  blacks  of  social  equal- 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  141 

ity.  Indeed,"  she  laughed,  "you  should  see  the  scorn 
with  which  our  servants  speak  of  'f  ree  niggers.'  They 
call  themselves  'niggers',"  she  said,  "but  mother  would 
have  punished  any  one  of  us  for  using  that  term."  Mary 
laughed  as  she  quoted  her  stepmother:  "  'A  mode  of 
speaking  of  the  negro  at  once  scornful  and  inelegant.' 
Social  equality,  indeed!"  she  laughed. 

"There  is  a  natural  disgust  in  the  minds  of  nearly  all 
white  people  at  the  idea  of  an  indiscriminate  amalga- 
mation of  the  white  and  black  men,"  said  Mr.  Lincoln. 
And  in  their  political  discussions  he  did  not  think  it 
must  necessarily  follow  that  in  the  event  of  emancipa- 
tion, the  negro  must  have  full  and  equal  political  rights 
with  white  men. 

During  the  debates,  the  progress  of  Mr.  Douglas  was 
like  the  triumphal  procession  of  a  conquering  hero. 
His  special  train  of  cars  with  flags  flying,  his  band  of 
music,  his  bodyguard  of  devoted  friends — he  even  had 
a  cannon  to  boom  announcement  of  his  approach  to  a 
town  where  he  was  scheduled  to  speak.  Mr.  Douglas 
was  accompanied  throughout  this  campaign  by  his  wife, 
a  brilliant,  beautiful  woman. 

It  is  said  that  Douglas  spent  no  less  than  $50,000  in 
this  canvass.  Mr.  Lincoln,  who  thought  that  he  had 
been  extravagant  to  spend  five  hundred  dollars,  trav- 
eled modestly,  sometimes  even  on  a  caboose  or  freight 


H2  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

train,  but  as  he  hated  "fireworks,  fizzle  gigs,"  this  mode 

of  travel  suited  him  better.  Mrs.  Lincoln  stayed  quietly 

at  home  and  kept  the  home  fires  burning,  trained  her 

children,  and  read  accounts  of  the  speeches  in  the 

papers. 

In  the  Freeport  debate,  Mr.  Lincoln,  against  the 
advice  of  his  friends,  asked  Mr.  Douglas,  "Can  the 
people  of  a  United  States  territory  in  any  lawful  way, 
against  the  wish  of  any  citizen  of  the  United  States, 
exclude  slavery  from  its  limits  prior  to  the  formation 
of  a  State  constitution?"  Douglas  answered,  "It  mat- 
ters not  which  way  the  Supreme  Court  may  hereafter 
decide  as  to  the  abstract  question  whether  slavery  may 
or  may  not  go  into  a  territory  under  the  Constitution, 
the  people  have  the  lawful  means  to  introduce  it  or  ex- 
clude it  as  they  please,  for  the  reason  that  slavery  can- 
not exist  a  day  or  an  hour  anywhere  unless  it  is  sup- 
ported by  local  police  regulations.  Those  police  regu- 
lations can  only  be  established  by  the  local  legislature, 
and  if  the  people  are  opposed  to  slavery,  they  will  elect 
representatives  to  that  body  who  will,  by  unfriendly 
legislation,  effectually  prevent  the  introduction  of  it  in 
their  midst.  If  on  the  contrary  they  are  for  it,  their 
legislature  will  favor  its  extension." 

Douglas  thought  he  had  by  this  answer  satisfied  all 
parties,  and  the  Democrats  congratulated  him  on  his 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  143 

cleverness.  But  Lincoln,  an  astute  politician,  smiled 
and  waited  for  the  Southern  press.  The  verdict  came 
with  no  uncertain  sound:  Douglas  was  a  traitor;  he  had 
repudiated  the  verdict  of  the  Supreme  Court.  Douglas 
was  now  an  impossible  candidate,  in  the  South,  for  the 
Presidency  in  i860,  although  he  had  won  the  Sena- 
torship. 

Mr.  Lincoln  came  home  one  evening  looking  rather 
disturbed.  In  reply  to  Mary's  "What  is  worrying 
you?"  (for  she  was  quick  to  note  his  moods),  he  told 
her  he  had  just  had  a  conversation  with  his  friend 
Mr.  Fell,  who  wished  him  to  be  a  candidate  for  Presi- 
dent of  the  United  States.  Mary's  little  crooked  smile 
deepened  into  a  dimple.  "Is  that  anything  to  worry 
about?"  she  asked.  "What  is  the  use  of  talking  of  me 
for  the  Presidency?"  said  Mr.  Lincoln  impatiently, 
"Whilst  we  have  such  men  as  Seward,  Chase,  and 
others,  who  are  so  much  better  known  to  the  people, 
and  whose  names  are  so  intimately  associated  with  the 
principles  of  the  Republican  party.  Everybody  knows 
them ;  nobody  scarcely,  outside  of  Illinois,  knows  me." 

"They  soon  will,"  said  Mary.  Her  husband  smiled 
at  her  persistence. 

"Besides,"  he  continued,  "is  it  not,  as  a  matter  of 
justice,  due  to  such  men,  who  have  carried  this  move- 
ment forward  to  its  present  status,  in  spite  of  fearful 


144  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

opposition,  personal  abuse,  and  hard  names?    I  really 
think  so." 

"Oh,"  smiled  Mary,  "if  abuse  is  all  that  is  needed  to 
earn  the  Presidency  I  think  you  have  earned  part  of 
the  price  already." 

Mr.  Lincoln  was  amused — what  an  ambitious  little 
wife  he  had! — but  he  shook  his  head,  there  was  no 
chance.  Why  force  himself?  But  Mary's  inherited 
instinct  from  her  Indian-fighting  ancestors  was  fired  at 
the  prospect  of  battle,  and  battle  was  chance.  Why 
not  take  the  chance?  There  was  everything  to  gain 
and  nothing  to  lose.  "I  admit,"  said  her  husband,  "that 
I  am  ambitious  and  would  like  to  be  President,  but 
there  is  no  such  good  luck  in  store  for  me  as  the  Presi- 
dency of  these  United  States." 

"Oh,"  cried  Mary,  "how  you  underrate  yourself! 
But," — with  a  knowing  little  smile,  she  added — "you 
are  the  only  person  in  the  world  who  does.  You  often 
quote  Burns.  'Oh  wad  some  power  the  giftie  gie  you 
to  see  yourseP  as  ithers  see  you,'  "  she  paraphrased. 

Mr.  Lincoln  persisted  in  his  modest  estimate  of  him- 
self. "I  must  in  all  candor  say  I  do  not  think  myself 
fit  for  the  Presidency."  Mary  laughed  at  him  for 
thinking  himself  "not  fit."  "YouVe  no  equal  in  the 
United  States,"  she  declared.  She  really  thought  he 
had  no  equal  in  the  world. 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  145 

Politics  became  more  engrossing  to  Mr.  Lincoln, 
and  more  and  more  in  Mary's  heart  grew  the  tri- 
umphant conviction  of  his  strength.  On  February 
27,  i860,  Mr.  Lincoln  made  the  famous  Cooper  Insti- 
tute speech  in  New  York  that  electrified  his  party. 
Two  months  later,  in  April,  at  Springfield,  it  was 
"Resolved"  by  his  fellow  citizens  that  "Abraham  Lin- 
coln is  our  first  choice  for  President  of  the  United 
States.  *  *  *  We  deem  ourselves  honored  to  be  per- 
mitted to  testify  our  personal  knowledge  in  everyday 
life  as  friend  and  neighbors  of  his  inestimable  worth  as 
a  private  citizen,  his  faithful  and  able  discharge  of 
every  public  trust  committed  to  his  care,  and  the  ex- 
traordinary gifts  and  brilliant  attainments  which  have 
not  only  made  his  name  a  household  word  in  the  Prairie 
State  but  also  made  him  the  proud  peer  of  the  ablest 
jurists,  the  wisest  statesman,  and  the  most  eloquent  ora- 
tor in  the  Union." 

Letters  now  came  in  a  steady  stream,  some  from 
totally  unexpected  quarters.  Mary  with  quickened 
pulses  realized  what  it  meant.  "Fit  or  not,"  she  ex- 
claimed, "you  are  in  the  field."  Then  with  lowered 
voice  solemn  with  prophecy,  she  declared,  "You  will 
be  President  of  the  United  States."  Her  husband 
smilingly  shook  his  head ;  of  course,  he  did  not  attach 
any  importance  to  this  prophecy,  which  was  the  expres- 


146  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

sion  of  Mary's  unbounded  love  and  ambition  for  him, 
and  yet,  it  was  strange  how  often  Mary  could  see  far 
into  the  political  future — strange  and  unexpected  things 

did  happen — perhaps Mr.  Lincoln  was  passively 

ambitious;  Mary,  keen  for  battle  on  the  front  line, 
feared  no  defeat  in  this  conflict,  had  no  thought  that 
her  man  might,  even  with  flying  colors,  go  down  in 
defeat. 

The  State  Convention  met  at  Decatur,  May  9  and  10, 
i860,  and  with  wild  enthusiasm  unanimously  declared 
for  Lincoln  as  President.  On  May  16,  the  Republican 
Convention  was  formally  opened  in  Chicago.  When 
Mr.  Norman  B.  Judd,  of  Illinois,  nominated  Lincoln, 
there  was  a  great  demonstration,  the  crowd  cheered  and 
clapped,  the  women  waved  handkerchiefs  and  flags. 
A  moment  later  the  seconding  of  William  H.  Seward's 
nomination  was  the  signal  for  a  still  greater  demon- 
stration. 

But  when  Caleb  Smith,  of  Indiana,  seconded  the 
nomination  of  Lincoln  such  pandemonium  was  let  loose 
as  made  the  preceding  noise  seem  a  gentle  murmur  in 
comparison.  In  the  first  lull,  Mary  Lincoln's  cousin, 
Stephen  T.  Logan,  hoarse  with  screaming  and  beside 
himself  with  excitement,  called  out,  "Mr.  President,  in 
order  or  out  of  order,  I  propose  this  convention  and 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  147 

audience  give  three  cheers  for  the  man  who  is  evi- 
dently their  nominee." 

The  balloting  was  another  strain.  Illinois  men 
thought  they  had  a  hundred  votes ;  counting,  they  found 
they  had  102.  Pennsylvania  had  fifty  and  one-half 
votes;  Chase,  forty-nine;  Greeley's  men,  forty-eight; 
McLean,  Pennsylvania's  second  choice,  twelve.  It  was 
for  Pennsylvania  to  say  whether  Seward  was  to  be  de- 
feated. The  Pennsylvania  delegation  moved  that  on 
the  second  ballot  Pennsylvania's  vote  be  cast  solidly  for 
Lincoln.  When  Pennsylvania's  name  was  called  amid 
a  profound  silence,  the  multitude  in  the  Wigwam  heard 
the  answer,  "Pennsylvania  casts  her  fifty-two  votes  for 
Abraham  Lincoln."  The  third  ballot  Lincoln  was  dis- 
tancing Seward — only  two  and  a  half  more  votes  and 
Lincoln  would  have  the  nomination;  there  was  an  in- 
stant of  breathless  silence,  and  the  chairman  of  the 
Ohio  delegation,  springing  upon  his  chair  cried,  "I  rise 
to  change  four  votes  from  Mr.  Chase  to  Mr.  Lincoln." 

The  scene  which  followed  baffles  description.  Men 
wept  and  sobbed  on  each  other's  shoulders,  they  threw 
hats,  handkerchiefs,  and  canes  in  the  air.  It  seemed  as 
though  they  could  not  cease  their  expressions  of  joy; 
the  tension  had  been  so  great  and  had  lasted  so  long 
that  these  outbursts  gave  relief  to  pent  up  anxiety. 

Mr.  Lincoln  and  Mary  all  this  time  were  in  Spring- 


148  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

field.  They  were  feeling  the  tension  and  strain  even 
more  than  their  political  friends  in  Chicago.  Mr. 
Lincoln  was  restless  and  spent  the  weary  waiting  of  this 
week  drifting  between  the  telegraph  office  and  home, 
for  Mary  was  anxious  for  every  scrap  of  news.  Mr. 
Lincoln  was  not  as  hopeful  of  the  result  as  Mary. 
"Well,"  he  said  wearily,  "I  guess  I'll  go  back  to  prac- 
ticing law."  "Why,  of  course,"  said  Mary  soothingly, 
"President  Lincoln  will  return  to  Springfield  and  his 
law  office  in  a  few  years,  but  he  and  Mrs.  President 
are  going  to  travel  a  little  bit  before  they  settle  down 
to  a  quiet,  humdrum  life."  How  often  they  had  talked 
and  would  still  talk  of  their  belated  honeymoon  trip! 
Friday  morning  both  Mr.  Lincoln  and  Mary  had  dark 
rings  of  fatigue  and  sleeplessness  under  their  eyes,  the 
suspense  was  almost  unbearable,  even  their  voices  were 
strained  and  sounded  unnatural  as  they  tried  to  speak 
calmly  and  reassuringly  to  each  other.  Mr.  Lincoln 
went  to  his  office,  but  soon  joined  the  excited  throng 
around  the  telegraph  office.  His  nomination  came  over 
the  wire,  then  the  balloting.  The  strain  was  too  great, 
he  would  not  wait.  Remembering  a  commission  Mary 
had  given  him  that  morning,  he  started  across  the 
square  and  was  standing  in  the  door  of  the  shop  when 
a  shout  went  up  from  the  group  in  front  of  the  tele- 
graph office. 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  149 

"Lincoln  is  nominated!" 

He  was  surrounded  in  an  instant  by  an  exultant 
crowd  of  half-hysterical  friends  bent  on  shaking  his 
hand  and  shouting  congratulations.  The  happy  excite- 
ment of  his  friends  was  instantly  reflected  in  Mr.  Lin- 
coln's beaming  countenance,  but  realizing  in  a  moment 
what  it  all  meant,  his  face  became  very  grave  and 
thoughtful.  He  knew  how  serious  was  the  crisis 
through  which  the  country  was  passing  and  how  great 
a  responsibility  the  next  President  would  have  to 
assume. 

"My  friends,"  he  said,  "I  am  glad  to  receive  your 
congratulations,  and  as  there  is  a  little  woman  on 
Eighth  Street  who  will  be  glad  to  hear  the  news,  you 
must  excuse  me  until  I  inform  her."  He  turned  to 
Mary  first  for  encouragement  and  for  the  triumphant 
love  he  knew  he  would  find  in  her  eyes.  It  does  not 
take  a  very  vivid  imagination  to  picture  their  meeting: 
Lincoln  proud  of  his  wife  and  that  he  had  realized 
her  faith  in  his  star,  and  Mary,  her  heart  singing  with 
joy  over  the  honor  that  had  come  to  her  man — the 
father  of  her  four  sons, — her  heart  nearly  bursting  with 
the  pride  she  felt  in  him. 

There  was  not  much  sleep  in  Springfield  that  night 
for  anyone,  particularly  Mary.  The  shouting  and  sing- 
ing of  campaign  songs  was  sweet  music,  and  the  glow- 


150  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

ing,  flaming  bonfires  and  parades  a  beautiful  sight, 
thrilling  every  nerve  with  exultation  over  the  triumph 
of  her  loved  one.  Mary  was  not  the  only  one  exultant 
and  happy.  Her  cousin  Judge  Stephen  T.  Logan,  a 
grave  and  staid  judge  at  all  other  times,  had  gone  wild 
with  excitement  at  Chicago,  where  he  had  headed  the 
Convention.  He  had  gone  clad  in  the  finest  suit  he 
had  ever  worn  and  "crowned  with  a  tall  new  shiny  silk 
hat."  When  he  came  back  this  suit,  which  he  had 
not  taken  off  since  he  left  Springfield,  was  wrinkled 
and  dusty  and  he  was  wearing  a  little  Scotch  cap — the 
tall  silk  hat  having  been  beaten  into  a  shapeless  wreck 
over  the  shoulders  of  his  happy  fellow  citizens.  (From 
Rankin's  History.) 


CHAPTER   VIII 

INTO   THE   MISTS 

TpROM  Friday,  May  18,  i860,  when  Mr.  Lincoln 
■**"  was  nominated  for  President  of  the  United  States 
by  the  Republican  party,  until  the  day  of  the  election, 
November  6,  he  remained  quietly  at  home.  The  strong 
men  of  his  party  were  ardently  and  harmoniously  at 
work;  the  speeches  of  Sumner,  Chase,  Cassius  M.  Clay, 
and  other  eminent  orators  reported  in  the  newspapers 
were  read  by  Mr.  Lincoln  and  Mary.  All  day  long 
visitors  thronged  the  house  or  crowded  Lincoln's  office ; 
some  of  them  were  interested  friends,  others  were 
strangers  impelled  by  mere  curiosity.  One  day  an  old 
woman  who  had  known  him  in  New  Salem  brought 
him  a  pair  of  woolen  socks.  She  said,  "I  spun  the  yarn 
and  knit  them  socks  myself."  Many  other  gifts  of 
wearing  apparel  were  sent,  some  from  distant  parts  of 
the  country,  which  amused  Mr.  Lincoln  very  much. 
Laughing  heartily,  he  said,  "Well,  wife,  if  nothing 
else  comes  out  of  this  scrape,  we  are  going  to  have 
some  new  clothes."  Mary's  relatives  in  Springfield 
were  deeply  interested  and  came  every  day  to  report 
any  letters  or  news  received  by  them  bearing  on  the 
campaign  and  to  hear  any  important  information  re- 

151 


152  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

ceived  by  the  Lincolns.  The  mails  flooded  Mr.  Lincoln 
with  newspapers,  some  of  them  marked  for  his  especial 
perusal;  his  tables  were  stacked  with  letters,  few  of 
which  he  had  time  to  open  and  answer.  The  campaign 
of  i860  was  excitingly  under  way.  Mary  Lincoln  had 
no  misgivings.  She  encouraged  and  stimulated  her 
husband  when  he  became  despondent  and  rejoiced 
whole-heartedly  at  any  good  news. 

On  election  day,  November  6,  Springfield  was  wide 
awake  before  daylight,  and  as  Mary  at  the  head  of  her 
table  poured  the  breakfast  coffee  for  Mr.  Lincoln,  she 
said  with  a  light  little  laugh,  "It  is  well  that  the  strain 
will  soon  be  over,  my  hand  is  trembling  so  that  I  nearly 
spilled  your  coffee."  She  was  rejoiced  to  see  that  her 
husband  was  as  calm  and  cool  as  though  this  were  a 
colorless  day  instead  of  a  red-letter  one  in  their  lives. 
Mr.  Lincoln,  as  usual,  went  to  the  room  reserved  for 
him  at  the  State  House  about  eight  o'clock  and  his 
friends  thronged  about  him  all  day.  Mary  at  home  was 
anxiously  waiting  for  news  though  no  returns  were  ex- 
pected until  after  seven  o'clock.  As  the  telegrams 
announcing  one  Lincoln  majority  after  another  came 
in,  there  was  more  and  more  excitement  and  enthusi- 
asm throughout  the  city. 

Mr.  Lincoln,  who  in  the  afternoon  had  gone  to  the 
hall  where  the  ladies  of  Springfield  had  prepared  re- 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  153 

freshments  for  the  Republican  politicians,  later  with- 
drew to  a  telegraph  office  where  returns  could  be 
received  more  quietly:  he  was  now  uneasy  only  about 
the  vote  in  Springfield.  Before  daylight  the  welcome 
announcement  came  that  he  had  a  majority  in  his  own 
precinct;  turning  to  his  friends,  he  said  cheerfully, 
"I  guess  I'll  go  home  now."  Mary,  who  had  not  gone 
to  bed  at  all,  met  him  at  the  door ;  the  strain  had  been 
too  great  for  her  nerves,  and  she  threw  herself  into  her 
husband's  arms  in  a  passion  of  tears.  "There,  there, 
little  woman,"  said  Lincoln,  patting  her  shoulder,  "I 
thought  you  wanted  me  to  be  President."  "I  do," 
sobbed  Mary,  "and  I  am  very  happy — that  is  why  I 
am  crying,"  she  said  smiling  up  through  her  tears. 

Two  weeks  after  the  election  Mrs.  Lincoln  spent 
several  days  in  Chicago  with  her  husband,  where  he 
was  to  meet  Hannibal  Hamlin,  the  Vice  President 
elect.  There  was  a  large  reception  at  the  Tremont 
House  and  a  line  of  visitors  passed  for  two  hours  and 
a  half  shaking  hands  with  Mr.  Lincoln,  who  stood  with 
Mrs.  Lincoln  and  Mr.  Hamlin  at  his  right. 

On  Jan.  10,  1861,  Mrs.  Lincoln,  accompanied  by  her 
brother-in-law,  Mr.  C.  M.  Smith,  and  the  Hon.  Amos 
Tuck  of  New  Hampshire,  went  to  New  York  to  make 
purchases  for  the  White  House.    After  spending  a  few 


154  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

days  in  New  York,  they  went  to  Cambridge,  Massa- 
chusetts, to  visit  Mrs.  Lincoln's  son  Robert. 

A  letter  from  this  young  man  written  to  Mary  in  the 
preceding  month  will  show  how  calmly  and  sensibly  he 
conducted  himself  during  this  exciting  period. 

"Phillips  Exeter  Academy. 
December  2,   i860. 
"Dear  Mother: 

"You  see  I  am  back  at  Exeter  and  I  feel  very  much  at 
home.  I  am  here  with  Dick  McConkey.  We  have  been  in 
a  constant  round  of  dissipation  since  we  came.  On  Thursday 
we  were  at  dinner  at  Miss  Gales,  on  Friday  Mr.  Tuck  gave 
a  large  party  which  passed  off  very  finely.  Mr.  Tuck  thinks 
of  going  to  Chicago  in  about  three  weeks  and  thence  to  St. 
Louis,  so  look  out  for  him.  To-night  we  are  invited  out  to 
tea  which  will  wind  up  our  fun,  as  we  have  to  commence 
study  again  tomorrow.  We  have  only  about  six  weeks  more 
before  going  home.  I  see  by  the  papers  that  you  have  been 
to  Chicago.  Aren't  you  beginning  to  get  a  little  tired  of 
this  constant  uproar?  I  have  a  couple  of  friends,  who  are 
going  to  the  inauguration  after  vacation  is  over  and  I  have 
invited  them  to  stop  at  our  house  on  their  road.  They  are 
nice  fellows  and  have  been  with  me  for  the  last  year.  You 
will  remember  that  I  wrote  to  father  about  a  fellow  who 
is  boring  me  considerably.  He  capped  the  climax  lately. 
There  was  a  Republican  levee  and  supper  at  Cambridge  to 
which  I  was  invited.  I  did  not  go  for  I  anticipated  what 
really  happened.    I  was  sitting  in  my  room  about  6 130  when 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  155 

two  boys  came  in  and  handed  me  an  admission  ticket,  on  the 
back  of  which  the  fellow  had  written  asking  me  to  come 
over  as  they  were  calling  for  me.  I  wrote  him  a  note 
excusing  myself.  He  must  be  the  biggest  fool  in  the  world 
not  to  know  I  did  not  want  to  go  over,  when  if  I  did  I  would 
be  expected  to  make  a  speech!  Just  phancy  my  phelinks 
mounted  on  the  rostrum  holding  'a  vast  sea  of  human  faces, 
etc/  I  stop  overwhelmed. 

Yours  affectionately, 

R.  T.  Lincoln." 

Returning  to  Springfield  Mary  prepared  for  the 
social  events  connected  with  the  coming  departure  to 
the  national  capitol.  In  the  accepted  style  of  the  society 
reporter,  a  Springfield  correspondent  of  the  Missouri 
Democrat  writes,  on  February  6,  1861 : 

"The  first  levee  given  by  the  President  elect  took  place 
last  evening  at  his  own  residence  in  this  City  and  it  was  a 
grand  outpouring  of  citizens  and  strangers  together  with 
the  members  of  the  Legislature.  Your  humble  servant  was 
invited  to  attend.  Mr.  Lincoln  threw  open  his  house  for  a 
general  reception  of  all  the  people  who  felt  disposed  to 
give  him  and  his  Lady  a  parting  call.  The  levee  lasted 
from  seven  until  twelve  o'clock  in  the  evening,  and  the 
house  was  thronged  by  thousands  up  to  the  latest  hour. 
Mr.  Lincoln  received  the  guests  as  they  entered  and  were 
made  known.  They  then  passed  on  and  were  introduced  to 
Mrs.  Lincoln  who  stood  near  the  center  of  the  parlor  and 
who  I  must  say  acquitted  herself  most  gracefully  and  ad- 


156  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

mirably.  She  was  dressed  plainly  but  richly.  She  wore 
a  beautiful  full  trail,  white  moire-antique  silk,  with  a  small 
French  lace  collar.  Her  neck  was  ornamented  with  a  string 
of  pearls.  Her  head  dress  was  a  simple  and  delicate  vine 
arranged  with  much  taste.  She  displayed  but  little  jewelry 
and  this  was  well  and  appropriately  adjusted.  She  is  a 
lady  of  fine  figure  and  accomplished  address  and  is  well 
calculated  to  grace  and  do  honor  at  the  White  House.  She 
was  on  this  occasion  accompanied  by  four  of  her  sisters, — 
Mrs.  W.  S.  Wallace,  Mrs.  C.  M.  Smith  of  Springfield,  Mrs. 
Charles  Kellogg  of  Cincinnati,  and  a  Miss  Todd  of  Ken- 
tucky. They  all  appeared  to  be  extremely  happy  and  I 
hope  there  will  be  nothing  thrown  in  their  way  to  hinder 
them  from  experiencing  in  full  all  the  pleasures  which  they 
now  anticipate  in  coming  events.  I  thought,  when  looking 
upon  the  lovely  group  of  the  Todd  family,  how  proud  old 
Kentucky  would  have  felt  if  she  could  have  been  present  to 
witness  the  position  in  which  her  son  and  daughters  were 
placed.     (T.  W.)" 

For  four  anxious  months  after  the  election  of  No- 
vember 6,  Mary  had  seen,  with  a  sinking  heart,  the 
Southern  States,  one  by  one,  withdraw  from  the  Union; 
there  was  no  doubt  in  the  minds  of  the  large  majority 
of  the  Southern  people  that  they  had  a  Constitutional 
right  to  secede  from  the  Union.  Many  in  the  North 
held  the  same  opinion  and  had  wished  to  secede  from 
the  South  on  account  of  their  abhorrence  of  slavery. 
On  November  10  the  United  States  senators  from  South 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  157 

Carolina  resigned  their  seats  at  Washington,  a  few 
weeks  later  their  State  seceded  and  under  the  Palmetto 
Flag  formed  an  independent  government. 

The  Stars  and  Stripes,  however,  still  floated  over 
Fort  Sumter  in  Charleston  harbor,  garrisoned  by  Fed- 
eral troops  under  command  of  Colonel  Robert  Ander- 
son of  Kentucky.  In  January,  Mississippi,  Florida, 
Alabama,  Georgia,  and  Louisiana  adopted  ordinances 
of  secession.  Mary  had  two  sisters  living  in  Selma, 
Alabama — Martha  Todd  married  to  Mr.  Clement 
White,  and  Elodie  Todd  married  to  Colonel  N.  H. 
R.  Dawson — and  three  of  her  brothers  were  living  in 
New  Orleans.  Living  on  a  Louisiana  plantation  was 
her  stepmother's  brother  James  Humphreys,  who  had 
married  a  charming  New  Orleans  woman  of  French 
extraction.  Her  beauty  and  grace  were  inherited  by 
their  two  attractive  daughters,  who  in  girlhood  had 
often  visited  at  her  father's  home  in  Lexington. 

So  patriotic  indignation  at  seeing  these  States  go  out 
of  the  Union  was  mingled  with  personal  sadness  over 
a  separation  in  sympathy  and  opinion  of  dear  relatives 
and  friends.  And  all  her  thoughts  were  tinctured  with 
a  feeling  of  undefined  fear.  She  dreaded — she  knew 
not  what.  War  was  unthinkable,  yet  in  February,  when 
a  General  Confederate  Convention  was  held  in  Mont- 
gomery, Alabama,  Mary  with  her  political  acumen 


158  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

began  to  sense  hostilities  of  some  sort,  seeing  how 
promptly  and  intelligently  the  seceding  States  were 
forming  the  Southern  Confederacy  and  how  resolutely 
they  were  seizing  forts  and  arsenals  and  making  every 
preparation  to  defend  the  newly  formed  nation.  "Oh, 
will  it  never  stop?"  cried  Mary  to  her  husband.  "Will 
inauguration  day  never  come?" 

Buchanan,  the  President  in  power,  seemed  to  be  a 
passive  onlooker.  Mary  had  known,  of  course,  that  the 
South  would  be  dissatisfied  with  a  Republican  Presi- 
dent, but  she  was  filled  with  dismay  when  a  furious 
clamor  rose  in  influential  quarters  of  the  North,  an 
insistent  demand  that  Mr.  Lincoln  should  declare  him- 
self and  promise  some  concession  which  would  quiet 
the  unrest  of  the  South  and  stop  secession. 

The  New  York  Herald  declared  Lincoln  was  a  "sec- 
tional President  whom  the  South  had  no  part  in  elect- 
ing. If  he  comes  out  and  tells  the  people  that  he  will 
govern  the  country  according  to  the  views  of  the  ma- 
jority and  not  to  serve  the  purpose  of  the  minority,  all 
may  yet  be  well.  Mr.  Lincoln  must  throw  his  pledges 
to  the  wind,  let  his  own  party  go  to  perdition  in  its 
own  way,  and  devote  himself  to  the  service  of  the  whole 
country.  It  is  Mr.  Lincoln's  bounden  duty  to  come  out 
now  and  declare  his  views."  Many  of  the  "Republi- 
can" newspapers  were  urging  Mr.  Lincoln  to  make 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  159 

some  sort  of  compromise;  the  Unionists  of  the  South 
were  urging  him  to  say  plainly  that  the  South  would 
have  nothing  to  fear  from  his  election.  Mr.  Lincoln 
had  already  expressed  himself  repeatedly  on  all  these 
questions,  and  now  declared,  "Self-respect  demands  of 
me  and  of  the  party  which  has  elected  me  that  when 
threatened  I  should  be  silent." 

His  old  friend  and  fellow  Congressman  Alexander 
H.  Stephens,  of  Georgia,  now  Vice  President  of  the 
Southern  Confederacy,  at  this  time  wrote  him:  "The 
country  is  certainly  in  great  peril;  and  no  man  ever 
had  heavier  or  graver  responsibilities  resting  upon  him 
than  you  have  in  the  present  momentous  crisis." 

Lincoln  replied:  "I  fully  appreciate  the  present  peril 
the  country  is  in  and  the  weight  of  responsibility  on 
me.  Do  the  people  of  the  South  really  entertain  fears 
that  a  Republican  administration  would  directly  or  in- 
directly interfere  with  the  slaves  or  with  them  about 
the  slaves?  If  they  do  I  wish  to  assure  you,  as  once  a 
friend,  and  still,  I  hope,  not  an  enemy,  that  there  is  no 
cause  for  such  fears.  The  South  would  be  in  no  more 
danger  in  this  respect  than  it  was  in  the  days  of  Wash- 
ington. I  suppose,  however,  this  does  not  meet  the  case. 
You  think  slavery  is  right  and  ought  to  be  extended, 
while  we  think  it  is  wrong  and  ought  to  be  restricted. 


160  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

That  I  suppose  is  the  rub.    It  certainly  is  the  only  sub- 
stantial difference  between  us." 

There  was  to  Mary  one  crumb  of  comfort  in  the  fact 
that  Kentucky  showed  no  sign  of  seceding.  She  and 
Mr.  Lincoln  pored  over  the  Lexington,  Kentucky, 
paper,  for  which  they  had  subscribed  every  year  since 
Mary's  marriage,  for  news  of  the  political  bias  of  the 
State  of  their  birth,  of  their  relatives  and  friends. 
There  were  so  many  Unionists  in  Kentucky  that  Mary 
and  Mr.  Lincoln  hoped  the  sentiment  would  spread. 
Mary  knew  that  her  own  people  were  in  favor  of  grad- 
ual emancipation,  not  merely  in  theory,  but  carried  out 
in  actual  practice  as  already  stated  in  the  case  of  her 
step-grandmother.  She  knew  too  how  her  own  people 
felt  about  the  selling  of  slaves;  in  their  opinion  only 
the  direst  poverty  could  justify  this  and  even  then  the 
stigma  of  disgrace  would  cling  to  the  seller  of  a  slave 
though  not  to  the  buyer  of  one. 

Not  only  did  Mary  read  Kentucky  papers,  she 
scanned  the  news  of  the  whole  country.  The  press  both 
North  and  South  teemed  with  advice  to  the  President 
elect;  with  prophecies  of  evil  times.  Private  mail  was 
overflowing  with  the  same  kind  of  advice,  with  con- 
demnation of  Mr.  Lincoln,  and  even  with  threats  of 
his  assassination.  All  this  told  fearfully  on  Mr.  Lin- 
coln and  Mary.    Superstition  in  the  nature  of  both  was 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  161 

aroused  by  a  vision  Mr.  Lincoln  had  when,  wearied  by 
a  day  of  distraction,  he  threw  himself  down  on  a  lounge 
in  his  room  and  saw  in  a  swinging  mirror  over  a  bureau, 
the  image  of  himself  reflected  with  two  faces,  one  much 
paler  than  the  other.  Mary,  with  wide  eyes,  the  color 
drained  out  of  her  face,  feared  the  vision  might  mean 
that  Mr.  Lincoln  would  be  elected  twice  as  President, 
but  would  not  live  to  finish  out  his  second  term  and  he 
was  so  deeply  impressed  by  this  vision  that  he  told  the 
incident  some  years  later  to  Noah  Brooks,  the  author. 

Mr.  Lincoln  was  feeling  the  terrible  responsibility 
and  difficulties  of  his  situation  and  yet  was  forced  to  a 
policy  of  inaction,  until  after  the  inauguration.  He  was 
often  filled  with  gloom  and  despondency  which  it  took 
all  of  Mary's  adroitness  to  dispel;  he  declared  that  he 
would  willingly  take  out  of  his  life  "a  period  of  years 
equal  to  the  two  months  which  intervenes  between  now 
and  my  inauguration,  to  take  the  oath  of  office  now," 
because  every  hour  was  adding  to  his  difficulties,  and 
the  outlook  each  day  grew  more  gloomy.  Mary  was 
alternately  filled  with  elation  over  her  husband's  com- 
ing inauguration  as  President  and  with  fear  lest  some 
assassin  might  make  good  his  threat.  She  breathed  a 
sigh  of  relief  when  at  last,  on  Monday,  February  n, 
at  eight  o'clock  in  the  morning  the  Presidential  party 
was  starting  for  Washington.    All  was  bustle  and  ex- 


1 62*  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

citement,  but  as  Mr.  Lincoln  from  the  car  platform 
made  his  farewell  speech  to  the  sea  of  friendly  faces 
come  to  wish  them  Godspeed,  a  wave  of  sadness  passed 
over  Mary;  she  was  leaving  for  years,  perhaps  forever, 
her  home  made  dear  by  the  one  and  great  love  of  her 
life;  the  little  grave  of  her  baby;  old  and  faithful 
friends — for  a  life  new  and  untried,  full  of  glorious 
possibilities,  it  is  true,  but  of  great  uncertainty,  and 
emotion  gripped  her  throat  and  fear  clutched  her  heart 
as  she  heard  her  husband  say  with  a  trembling  voice, 
"Here  my  children  have  been  born  and  one  is  buried. 
I  now  leave  not  knowing  when  or  whether  ever  I  may 


return." 


Eight  o'clock  in  the  morning  being  an  inconvenient 
hour,  Mrs.  Lincoln  had  decided  to  take  a  later  train 
and  join  the  Presidential  party  at  Indianapolis,  where 
they  were  to  stay  all  night.  As  the  special  train  con- 
veying the  President  elect  pulled  out  of  Springfield, 
Mary  Lincoln  was  standing  on  the  platform,  in  the 
midst  of  their  friends,  waving  him  a  farewell. 

Accompanying  Mary  Lincoln  from  Springfield,  to 
be  present  at  the  inauguration  and  to  be  her  guests  at 
the  White  House,  were  her  sister  Mrs.  Ninian  Edwards 
(Elizabeth  Todd)  with  her  two  daughters,  Mrs.  Baker 
and  Miss  Edwards,  and  the  daughter  of  her  Uncle 
John,  Mrs.  Grimsley  (Elizabeth  Todd).     Mrs.  Ed- 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  163 

wards  was  a  woman  of  great  poise  and  dignity  and  a 
real  help  in  any  social  dilemma;  she  had  started  her 
social  career  very  early  at  the  governor's  mansion  in 
Illinois  when  she  was  a  young  bride  still  in  her  teens. 
At  Indianapolis,  Mary,  somewhat  dazed,  had  to  sum- 
mon up  her  social  resources  for  the  public  ordeal  which 
awaited  her,  and  which  was  to  be  repeated  in  other 
cities. 

A  huge  public  reception  in  the  evening,  elaborate  in 
its  preparations,  a  breakfast  next  morning  with  the 
governor  of  the  State,  and  a  reception  at  the  hotel.  At 
ten  o'clock  Tuesday  morning  Mr.  Lincoln's  party  left 
Indianapolis  for  Cincinnati.  "The  train  under  way, 
all  grew  composed  and  even  merry  as  the  enthusiasm 
all  along  the  line  cheered  them.  Mary  forgot  her  fear 
in  her  pride  of  her  great  husband.  Everybody  wanted 
to  shake  hands  with  him.  Democrats  as  well  as  Repub- 
licans called  out,  "Good-bye,  Abe,  stick  to  the  Consti- 
tution and  we  will  stick  to  you." 

Mary  had  recovered  her  spirits  fully  by  this  time. 
The  towns  through  which  they  passed  were  decorated 
with  flags,  cheering  men  were  eager  to  see  Mr.  Lincoln. 
A  magnificent  reception  was  given  him  in  Cincinnati, 
and  Mary  with  a  little  pressure  on  his  arm  reminded 
him  that  it  was  his  birthday,  which  she  and  Mr.  Lin- 
coln, just  the  two  of  them,  could  celebrate  with  nods 


1 64  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

and  shy  coquettish  glances  from  under  Mary's  long 
lashes,  replied  to  by  his  grave  and  tender  regard.  They 
both  thought  of  the  modest  little  dinners  of  other  birth- 
days on  the  1 2th  of  February  when  they  were  at  home 
with  a  few  chosen  and  congenial  friends  come  to  wish 
Mr.  Lincoln  many  happy  returns,  and  when  she  would 
repeat  the  little  speech  she  had  made  on  his  first  birth- 
day after  their  marriage  which  ended:  "I  am  so  glad 
you  have  a  birthday.  I  feel  so  grateful  to  your  mother." 

Mr.  Lincoln  made  two  brief  speeches  in  Cincinnati; 
he  said  that  he  had  made  but  one  speech  before  in  that 
city  and  then  much  of  what  he  said  had  been  addressed 
to  the  Kentuckians.  "Fellow  citizens  of  Kentucky! 
friends!  brethren!  may  I  call  you  in  my  new  position? 
I  see  no  occasion,  and  feel  no  inclination,  to  retract  a 
word  of  this.  If  it  shall  not  be  made  good,  be  assured 
the  fault  shall  not  be  mine." 

Mr.  Lincoln  and  Mary  had  a  tender  feeling  for  the 
State  of  their  birth.  Mr.  Lincoln's  three  law  partners 
were  all  born  in  Kentucky. 

After  leaving  Cincinnati  for  Columbus  on  Wednes- 
day morning,  few  stops  were  made.  Another  brilliant 
reception  at  Columbus,  and  on  Thursday  morning, 
February  14,  the  Presidential  party  was  again  on  its 
way,  and  Lincoln  that  night  spoke  to  an  immense 
crowd  at  Pittsburgh.    It  is  refreshing  to  note  that  the 


Hon.  John  Todd  Stuart,  Mary  Todd's  Cousin  and  Abraham  Lincoln's 
First  Law  Partner 


Mrs.  John  Todd  Stuart 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  165 

Pennsylvanians  were  not  alarmed  over  the  threatened 
dissolution  of  the  Union  but  demanded  a  speech  on  the 
tariff. 

At  Cleveland,  Buffalo,  Albany,  New  York,  crowds 
of  cheering  people,  flowers,  receptions,  dinners,  lunch- 
eons, flags  floating,  cannon  booming-  The  journey 
through  the  State  of  New  York  occupied  three  days. 
Mary  was  in  high  spirits  all  the  way.  She  remained 
with  a  party  of  eighteen  or  twenty  relatives  and  friends 
in  New  York. 

On  February  23,  at  six  o'clock  in  the  morning,  Mr. 
Lincoln  was  in  Washington,  safe  in  spite  of  rumors  of 
plots  to  abduct  him  and  threats  of  assassination.  While 
his  friends  took  these  threats  seriously,  Mr.  Lincoln  was 
inclined  to  think  their  fears  groundless.  Rooms  had 
been  reserved  for  the  Presidential  party  at  Willard's 
Hotel.  Mrs.  Lincoln  and  her  party  were  still  in  New 
York  at  the  comfortable  old  Metropolitan  Hotel  and 
did  not  join  Mr.  Lincoln  until  the  evening  of  March  2. 
From  Saturday  evening  until  Monday  morning,  the 
day  of  the  inauguration,  Mary  Lincoln  could  not  shake 
off  a  feeling  of  apprehension.  If  she  forgot  her  fear  for 
a  moment,  the  soldiers  thronging  the  streets  and  the 
guards  stationed  to  protect  her  husband  would  remind 
her  that  her  loved  one  was  not  yet  out  of  danger;  but, 
she  would  argue  to  herself,  what  ill  could  happen  to 


1 66  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

him  surrounded  by  all  these  loyal  men,  under  all  this 
watchful  care?  At  that  consoling  thought  her  buoyant 
nature  would  reassert  itself. 

Senator  James  Harlan,  of  Mt.  Pleasant,  Iowa,  met 
Mr.  Lincoln  for  the  first  time  a  few  days  before  the 
inauguration,  and  this  meeting  developed  later  into  a 
warm  friendship  between  the  two  families.  He  de- 
scribes his  impressions  of  the  Lincolns  thus : 

"Abraham  Lincoln  was  an  unusually  tall  man, 
though  he  did  not  seem  slender.  He  appeared  to  be 
as  lean  and  his  muscles  as  hard  as  those  of  a  prize- 
fighter. He  was  obviously  a  very  strong,  powerful  man, 
physically  capable  of  immense  endurance.  His  eyes 
slightly  receded,  were  about  normal  in  size  and,  ac- 
cording to  my  recollection  gray  in  color — with  no 
marked  expression,  except  pensiveness  and  truthfulness. 
His  head  was  large,  both  longitudinally  and  perpen- 
dicularly, with  a  tall  and  ample  forehead.  His  hair 
was  dark  brown,  without  any  tendency  to  baldness. 
His  head,  when  he  was  in  repose,  drooped  slightly  for- 
ward, and  his  whole  countenance  was  pensive  to  sad- 
ness. In  conversation  it  would  kindle  into  brightness ; 
and  with  increased  earnestness  become  luminous.  He 
impressed  everyone  with  his  frankness  and  manifest 
candor,  and  conscious  manly  strength,  free  from  the 
slightest  manifestation  of  egotism.    No  one  could  look 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  167 

at  him  and  doubt  his  perfect  honesty,  sincerity,  and 
kindness. 

"As  I  have  sometimes  heretofore  said,  and  continue 
to  think,  no  one  can  know  a  married  man  thoroughly, 
who  does  not  also  know  his  wife.  I  must  add  a  few 
descriptive  words  of  Mrs.  Mary  Todd  Lincoln,  wife  of 
Abraham  Lincoln. 

"She  was  fair,  of  about  medium  height,  but  standing 
near  her  husband,  by  comparison  seemed  short.  Her 
quiet,  gentle  manners  and  firm  womanly  bearing  im- 
pressed everyone  with  the  conviction  that  she  was  a 
well-educated,  cultured  lady,  accustomed  to  the  usages 
of  society  and  with  ability  to  take  care  of  herself.  She 
was  a  Kentuckian. 

"Mr.  and  Mrs.  Lincoln  were,  at  that  date,  the  par- 
ents of  three  living  children  about  whom,  perhaps,  I 
ought  to  say  a  word  or  two;  because  the  children 
brought  up  in  a  family  usually  reflect,  like  a  mirror, 
the  character  of  their  parents. 

"The  oldest,  Robert  Todd  Lincoln,  was  a  youth  of 
seventeen  or  eighteen  years; — well  developed  physi- 
cally, a  strong,  healthy,  resolute,  sensible-looking  fel- 
low; without  the  slightest  appearance  of  ostentation  or 
family  pride  on  account  of  his  father's  election  to  the 
Presidency. 

"The  second  child,  William  Lincoln,  was  probably 


1 68  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

about  twelve  years  of  age.  He  was  a  beautiful  boy; 
intelligent,  polite,  observant,  careful  of  the  comfort  of 
others  and  courtly  in  his  manners;  so  much  so  as  to 
attract  the  attention  and  affection  of  everybody  with 
whom  he  came  in  contact. 

"The  third  child,  Thomas  Lincoln — usually  called 
"Tad" — was  a  small  boy,  probably  not  more  than  seven 
or  eight  years  old.  He  was  apparently  under  little 
restraint,  overflowing  with  the  joys  of  his  young  life 
and  almost  constantly  near  and  clinging  to  his  father 
who  never  appeared  to  be  annoyed  by  his  freaks  and 
capers." 

On  the  4th  of  March,  Washington  was  stirring  at  the 
break  of  day.  Mary  Lincoln,  sleepless  and  excited,  saw 
from  her  window  scores  of  people,  who  had  been  un- 
able to  find  beds  the  night  before  on  account  of  the 
crowded  condition  of  hotels  and  boarding-houses, 
restlessly  walking  the  streets;  incoming  trains  were 
bringing  fresh  crowds  to  see  the  inauguration  of  the 
first  Republican  President;  the  tramp,  tramp  of  sol- 
diers, the  rumble  and  clatter  and  clash  of  artillery, 
the  shrill  screams  of  newsboys  all  added  to  the  general 
noise  and  confusion.  Mr.  Lincoln,  at  his  rooms  at 
Willard's  Hotel,  had  from  a  very  early  hour  been  at 
work.  At  noon  Mr.  Buchanan,  the  President  of  the 
United  States,  came  to  escort  the  President  elect  to  the 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  169 

Capitol.  They  passed  through  lines  of  guards,  platoons 
of  soldiers,  cavalry,  infantry,  artillery,  for  General 
Winfleld  Scott  was  determined  that  no  harm  should 
befall  the  incoming  President. 

Mrs.  Lincoln  and  her  party  occupied  the  diplomatic 
gallery.  Mary  Lincoln  had  no  eyes  for  the  brilliant 
scene:  the  diplomatic  corps  glittering  with  decorations, 
the  women  in  their  beautiful  gowns,  had  at  this  time 
no  interest  for  her;  with  her  soul  in  her  eyes  she  saw 
only  one  loved  face  that  meant  home  and  all  that  was 
dear  to  her  in  the  world.  After  the  oath  of  office  had 
been  administered  to  Vice  President  elect  Hannibal 
Hamlin,  who  made  a  short  speech,  there  was  a  con- 
certed movement  in  the  direction  of  the  east  portico 
where  a  wooden  platform  had  been  erected  for  this 
occasion.  The  procession  was  headed  by  the  Justices 
of  the  Supreme  Court  in  their  caps  and  silk  gowns. 
Upon  the  front  of  the  platform  were  the  Senate  Com- 
mittee, President  Buchanan,  Chief  Justice  Taney  and 
Mr.  Lincoln;  just  back  were  seated  Mrs.  Lincoln,  her 
three  sons,  Mrs.  Grimsley  and  other  relatives;  the  rest 
of  the  platform  was  filled  with  judges,  senators,  and 
other  distinguished  guests. 

As  Mr.  Lincoln  came  to  a  table  containing  a  Bible, 
a  pitcher  and  a  glass  of  water,  he  placed  a  manuscript 
on  the  table  and  his  cane  upon  it  as  a  paper  weight; 


170  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

lifting  his  hat  he  looked  around  for  a  place  to  put  it 
when  a  hand  reached  over  and  took  the  hat,  and  Judge 
Stephen  A.  Douglas  whispered  to  Mrs.  Grimsley,  "If 
I  cannot  be  President,  I  can  at  least  be  his  hat  bearer." 
Mary  Lincoln's  heart  warmed  to  the  friend  of  her  girl- 
hood as  she  saw  this  graceful  act  of  courtesy.  She  saw 
her  husband,  tall,  dignified,  unexcited,  very  grave.  His 
self-possession  was  perfect.  His  resonant  voice,  a  little 
high-pitched,  reached  the  outer  fringes  of  the  vast 
crowd  in  front  of  him.  Mary  listened  dreamily  to  the 
Inaugural  Address,  which  Mr.  Lincoln  had  read  to  her 
the  day  before  and  which  he  was  now  delivering  with  as 
much  ease  as  if  such  an  address  were  an  everyday 
occurrence. 

Mary  tried  to  realize  that  she  and  her  husband  had 
reached  the  crowning  point  of  their  ambition — would 
it  mean  joy  or  sorrow?  Would  they  have  to  see  the 
bitter  animosities  of  North  and  South  culminate  in  war 

or She  started  from  her  reverie  to  nod  a  hopeful 

assent  to  the  closing  sentences  of  the  address:  "I  am 
loath  to  close.  We  are  not  enemies  but  friends."  (And 
dear  kindred,  thought  Mary.)  "We  must  not  be  ene- 
mies. Though  passion  may  have  strained,  it  must  not 
break  our  bonds  of  affection.  The  mystic  chords  of 
memory,  stretching  from  every  battlefield  and  patriot 
grave  to  every  living  heart  and  hearthstone  all  over  this 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  171 

broad  land  will  yet  swell  the  chorus  of  the  Union  when 
again  touched,  as  surely  they  will  be,  by  the  better 
angels  of  our  nature."  The  oath  prescribed  by  the 
Constitution  was  administered  by  Chief  Justice  Taney, 
and  Abraham  Lincoln  was  President  of  the  United 
States. 

Mary  had  a  feeling  of  intense  relief  when,  the  cere- 
monies over  and  unmarred  by  any  unfriendly  demon- 
stration, her  husband  was  safe  in  what  was  to  be  their 
home,  God  willing,  for  the  next  four  years.  At  the 
entrance  of  the  executive  mansion,  "Old  Edwards,"  the 
doorkeeper  through  many  administrations,  ushered 
them  into  a  mansion  swept  and  garnished,  to  be  sure, 
but  looking  dull  and  shabby  with  its  old  and  worn 
furnishings.  The  East,  the  Blue  and  the  Red  rooms 
were  not  quite  so  dingy,  as  all  the  elegance  of  the  man- 
sion seemed  concentrated  in  these  three  rooms;  now, 
however,  there  was  too  much  excitement  for  Mary  to 
have  more  than  a  fleeting  thought  that  just  as  soon  as 
possible  she  must  brighten  all  this  dinginess. 

After  a  gay  company  of  seventeen  or  eighteen  people 
had  finished  dinner,  all  separated  to  rest  and  prepare 
for  the  Grand  Inaugural  Ball,  which  would  usher  in 
the  first  Republican  President  (and  many  people 
thought  the  last  one).  Mary  Lincoln,  whose  task  it 
would  be  to  uphold  the  social  end  of  the  administra- 


172  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

tion,  assumed  her  new  position  with  self-confidence 
and  poise  and,  socially,  a  joyous  fearlessness,  meeting 
the  public  with  unaffected  cordiality.  With  a  direct 
and  searching  glance,  she  could  distinguish  between 
enemies  and  friends.  At  first  she  was  undismayed  by 
the  number  of  hostile  critics,  hoping,  no  doubt,  by  her 
own  friendly  attitude  to  disarm  them ;  but  as  the  weeks 
went  by  she  felt  the  enmity  was  deeper  than  personality 
or  any  amount  of  friendliness  could  dissipate,  and  a 
woman  even  less  high-spirited  and  sensitive  than  Mary 
Todd  Lincoln  would  have  been  irritated  by  the  attitude 
of  some  of  the  erstwhile  leaders  of  society  at  the 
Capitol. 

Southern  women,  especially  those  from  Virginia  and 
Maryland,  boasting  long  lines  of  distinguished  an- 
cestry, had  for  many  years  held  sway  as  social  leaders 
in  Washington.  They  represented  a  clique  of  wealth 
and  social  prestige,  of  refinement  and  good  breeding, 
and  had  Mary  Lincoln  been  the  wife  of  a  Southern 
or  Democratic  President,  she  would  have  had  no  dif- 
ficulty in  being  recognized  as  one  of  them  and  easily 
could  have  become  socially  popular  as  First  Lady. 
But  President  Lincoln  as  leader  of  the  Republican 
party  had  aroused  bitter  resentment  in  the  hearts  of 
the  Southern  people;  they  declared  he  was  an  odious, 
tyrannical  monster  and  his  wife  a  renegade  Southerner 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  173 

with  no  heart  and  no  principles,  they  would  have  noth- 
ing to  do  with  such  a  traitor!  Southerners  had  no  wish 
to  overcome  their  prejudice  against  the  wife  of  an 
Abolitionist,  a  word  abhorrent  to  the  South  and, 
indeed,  to  a  large  faction  in  the  North  and  East. 

Leslie  Perry  some  years  since  said  in  an  article  writ- 
ten for  Harper's  Magazine:  "Every  ingenuity  of 
malice  was  resorted  to  to  discredit  the  new  regime. 
Both  the  President  and  his  wife  were  mercilessly  lam- 
pooned, and  yet  Mrs.  Lincoln  was  the  peer  of  any 
woman  in  Washington  in  education  and  character,  as 
well  as  the  'barren  ideality'  of  birth."  And  W.  O. 
Stoddard  declares  she  was  bright,  cheerful,  almost 
merry  sometimes — "as  you  look  at  her  and  talk  with 
her  the  fact  that  she  has  so  many  enemies  strikes  you 
as  one  of  the  moral  curiosities  of  this  venomous  time." 

Whether  through  some  misunderstanding  or  by  order 
of  General  Beauregard,  the  Confederates  fired  on  Fort 
Sumter  on  April  12,  1861,  and  the  war  between  the 
North  and  South  was  on  in  deadly  earnest.  As  Wash- 
ington received  the  news  of  other  States  seceding,  of 
riots  and  bloodshed  in  Baltimore,  of  bridges  burned 
and  railway  communication  with  the  North  being  cut 
off,  the  gloom  and  apprehension  increased.  Public 
buildings  were  barricaded,  guards  were  camped  in  the 
East  room  and  corridors  of  the  White  House.    General 


174  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

Cassius  M.  Clay  (of  Kentucky)  with  his  Home  Battal- 
ion was  stationed  in  Willard's  Hall.  Patriotic  fervor 
for  the  Union  was  intensified  in  the  North,  and  higher 
and  higher  flamed  the  spirit  of  undying  allegiance  to 
the  new-born  league  of  independent  States,  the  South- 
ern Confederacy.  For  years  the  North  and  South  had 
been  stinging  each  other  into  uncontrollable  madness. 
The  North  was  singing,  "We'll  hang  Jeff  Davis  on  a 
Sour  Apple  Tree,"  and  the  South  was  substituting  the 
name  of  Lincoln  in  the  same  song. 

When  a  Southern  girl  in  Washington  at  that  hate- 
filled  time  saw  Mrs.  Lincoln's  carriage  approaching, 
she  would  run  to  the  piano,  fling  wide  the  windows  and 
sing  "Dixie,"  "Maryland,  My  Maryland,"  or  "Bonnie 
Blue  Flag,"  and  Mary's  eyes  would  fill  with  tears  for 
she  knew  this  was  done  to  hurt  her.  Neither  did  she 
fare  better  at  the  hands  of  the  Northerners;  she  was 
accused,  on  account  of  her  Southern  birth,  of  being  a 
Rebel  at  heart,  of  not  sympathizing  with  her  husband's 
views  and  principles.  She  was  watched  and  spied  upon 
for  some  clue  upon  which  to  hang  a  suspicion  of  her 
treachery  to  the  Union — an  unguarded  word  would 
have  meant  a  volume  of  abuse  or  slander.  With  rare 
tact,  following  her  husband's  policy  of  conciliation,  she 
tried  to  make  friends  of  the  opposition.  In  this  social 
chaos  and  disruption  she  naturally  turned  first,  for  sup- 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  175 

port,  to  women  from  her  own  State ;  among  others,  Mrs. 
John  J.  Crittenden,  a  handsome  matron  whose  husband 
had  left  the  Senate  to  become  a  representative  and  as 
such  was  the  mover  of  the  Crittenden  Compromises  cal- 
culated to  restore  the  South  to  the  Union  by  peaceful 
measures. 

Also  the  wife  of  her  old  friend  Stephen  A.  Douglas, 
the  Democratic  leader,  was  frequently  asked  to  receive 
with  Mrs.  Lincoln.  Mrs.  Douglas,  who  combined  wTit 
and  beauty  with  sweet  gentle  manners,  was  one  of  the 
belles  of  the  White  House.  That  Mrs.  Lincoln  should 
select  for  her  receiving  line  the  wives  and  daughters  of 
Democrats  gave  great  offense  to  many  Republican 
women.  Into  this  chaos  of  jealousies,  animosities, 
private  and  public  rancors,  it  would  have  been  impos- 
sible to  inject  any  of  the  beautiful  quiet  amenities  of 
normal  society.  Ignoring  this  unpleasantness  as  much 
as  possible,  Mary  Lincoln  took  her  place  as  First  Lady 
with  simple,  easy  grace  and  dignity.  She  was  sought 
by  people  of  intellect  who  were  charmed  by  her  anima- 
tion and  originality  of  thought  and  her  fearlessness  in 
expressing  herself.  She  was  still  strikingly  youthful 
and  attractive  in  appearance;  she  was  "fair  and  forty," 
but  not  fat,  as  she  weighed  only  a  hundred  and  thirty- 
pounds.  Her  hair,  a  lovely  light  chestnut  with  glints 
of  bronze,  had  as  yet  not  a  gray  thread.     Her  eyes 


176  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

sparkled  youthfully  with  the  zest  of  living,  and  the 
fashion  of  the  day  favored  her  mightily  as  her  beautiful 
shoulders  and  arms  gleamed  like  pearls  in  her  low-cut 
short-sleeved  evening  gowns.  She  had  individuality 
and  distinction  and  an  intellect  and  personality  that 
caused  her  to  be  here  admired,  there  envied,  loved 
greatly  by  her  friends,  and  deeply  disliked  by  many 
outside  her  circle. 

Her  enthusiasms  were  so  inspiring  that  a  forlorn 
hope  revived  and  blossomed  in  the  down-hearted. 
Hence,  her  husband  and  friends  brought  to  her  many 
troubles  and  problems.  She  held  her  head  high, 
slightly  tilted  back,  possibly  because  she  had  so  tall  a 
husband  to  look  up  to.  She  was  not  tall,  but  seemed 
shorter  than  she  really  was  by  the  side  of  her  towering 
husband.  More  than  merely  pretty,  she  was  both  bril- 
liant and  fascinating,  but,  already  prejudiced,  nothing 
could  mollify  her  critics.  As  they  could  not  find  any 
glaring  faults  in  her  behavior,  they  criticized  her  ex- 
travagance in  dress. 

Mary  Lincoln,  full  of  ardor  and  patriotism,  wished 
to  join  a  society  pledged  to  use  no  foreign  dress  goods, 
laces  or  jewels  during  the  war.  But  this  project  was 
condemned  by  Mr.  Lincoln  and  Salmon  P.  Chase,  his 
Secretary  of  the  Treasury,  who  declared  the  Govern- 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  177 

ment  needed  the  revenue  coming  from  the  importation 
of  these  luxuries*  This  made  the  wearing  of  rich 
clothing  no  crime,  but  rather  a  patriotic  duty  for  all 
who  could  afford  it.  Mary  Lincoln,  with  a  keen  ap- 
preciation of  all  that  was  exquisite  and  beautiful  and 
with  an  instinctive  talent  for  style  and  dress,  became 
noted  for  elegant  and  costly  apparel.  She  had  very 
little  lace,  but  that  was  of  the  finest  rose  point,  Honiton 
or  English  thread;  and  her  jewels,  while  not  mag- 
nificent and  consisting  mostly  of  small  pearls  finely 
strung  in  dainty  design  and  small  diamonds  set  down 
closely  in  pearls  (pave,  I  think  the  French  call  it), 
were  unusual  and  especially  appealing  to  a  refined  and 
cultured  taste. 

President  Lincoln  loved  to  see  Mary  "dressed  up" ; 
he  noticed  her  "fine  feathers"  and  never  failed  to  com- 
pliment her  when  she,  with  guileless  vanity,  pirouetted 
around  the  room  for  him  to  admire  some  particularly 
pretty  dress,  and  he,  smiling,  would  comment,  "Our 
cat  has  a  long  tail  to-night"  or  "Some  of  that  tail  might 
be  added  to  the  top." 

With  her  husband's  praises  ringing  in  her  ears,  little 
did  Mary  Lincoln  dream  that  her  innocent  love  for 
beautiful  clothes  would  one  day  cause  her  the  deepest 
humiliation. 


178  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

The  bombardment  of  Fort  Sumter  by  the  Confed- 
erates, April  12,  sounded  the  death  knell  of  peace  be- 
tween the  North  and  South.  A  few  days  later  Virginia 
was  open  to  Confederate  troops,  and  from  the  White 
House  windows  the  occupants  looked  upon  green  bluffs 
across  the  Potomac  belonging  to  the  enemy. 

The  death,  Friday  morning,  May  23,  of  the  dashing, 
gallant  young  Colonel  Ellsworth,  brought  the  first 
sting  of  sorrow  to  the  White  House.  Colonel  Ells- 
worth had  come  from  Springfield  with  the  Presidential 
party  and  was  a  member  of  the  President's  household. 
Colonel  Ellsworth  saw  the  President  with  a  face  of 
gloom,  time  and  again,  standing  before  the  south  win- 
dows of  the  White  House  looking  through  his  glass  at 
a  Confederate  flag  flying  from  a  staff  at  Alexandria. 
When  the  advance  was  made  across  the  river  to  seize 
the  heights  from  Arlington  to  Alexandria,  Colonel 
Ellsworth,  who  had  organized  the  New  York  Zouaves, 
took  command  and  in  hauling  down  this  flag  from  the 
roof  of  a  hotel,  the  owner  and  proprietor  of  the  house 
killed  him  and  was  in  turn  immediately  shot  to  death 
by  one  of  Ellsworth's  men.  President  and  Mrs.  Lin- 
coln felt  his  loss  keenly.  The  funeral  services  were 
held  in  the  East  room  of  the  executive  mansion,  and  the 
President  and  Mrs.  Lincoln  were  in  the  line  of  carri- 
ages which  conveyed  the  young  soldier  to  the  railway 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  179 

station.  The  next  death  to  make  a  gap  in  the  ranks  of 
their  friends  was  Stephen  A.  Douglas,  June  3,  1861,  for 
in  spite  of  political  differences  the  close  association  of 
their  early  life  with  the  "Little  Giant,"  his  many  gen- 
erous impulses  and  very  agreeable  and  lovable  person- 
ality made  a  kindly  bond,  and  the  breaking  of  it  was 
painful  to  them  both. 

Early  in  the  morning  July  21,  Washington  was  filled 
with  excitement.  The  booming  of  cannon  at  Bull  Run 
could  be  distinctly  heard,  and  news  at  first  was  hopeful 
for  the  Unionists.  Soon,  however,  joy  was  turned  to 
consternation  and  panic  when  a  telegram  announced, 
"The  day  is  lost,  save  Washington  and  the  remnant  of 
the  Army."  The  family  at  the  White  House,  fever- 
ishly anxious  all  day,  saw  daylight  fade  into  night  and 
still  had  no  thought  of  sleep  when  General  Scott  at  two 
A.  M.  came  to  bring  tidings  of  relief.  General  Scott 
insisted  that  Mrs.  Lincoln  and  the  boys  should  be  sent 
North  out  of  danger.  Mrs.  Lincoln  turned  to  her  hus- 
band and,  knowing  full  well  what  his  answer  would  be, 
asked,  "Will  you  go  with  us?"  "Most  assuredly  I  will 
not  leave  at  this  juncture,"  he  answered  promptly. 
Just  as  promptly  came  the  response  from  Mary  Lin- 
coln, "Then  I  will  not  leave  you  at  this  juncture." 

Made  brave  by  her  devotion  to  her  husband,  the  little 
wife  only  thought  of  how  she  might  shield  or  protect 


1 80  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

him  or  at  least  share  the  danger  with  him.    No  urging 

moved  her  from  this  firm  determination. 

There  was  not  much  time  in  those  fearful  days  for 
Mary  Lincoln  to  give  serious  thought  to  the  social 
disaffection.  It  was  annoying,  of  course,  and  an  added 
burden,  but,  surrounded  by  love  as  she  was,  it  did  not 
affect  her  happiness.  Her  two  boys,  Willie  and  Tad, 
were  lively  youngsters.  Tad  had  much  of  his  mother's 
mercurial  disposition  and  the  White  House  echoed 
with  his  laughter  all  day.  The  two  boys  were  full  of 
life  and  fun  and  their  pranks,  which  sometimes  called 
for  chiding  from  their  mother,  gave  great  delight  and 
amusement  to  their  father.  Willie  was  tall  for  eleven 
years  of  age,  handsome,  studious,  remarkably  intelli- 
gent, he  was  the  pride  and  joy  of  his  mother  and  father. 
Robert,  who  developed  into  the  distinguished  man 
known  on  both  sides  of  the  Atlantic,  was  at  college 
and  only  occasionally  at  Washington. 

Mrs.  Grimsley,  who  had  been  Mrs.  Lincoln's  inti- 
mate girlhood  friend  and  her  bridesmaid,  was  at  the 
White  House  with  her  for  six  months.  The  White 
House  was  always  filled  with  friends  and  relatives  of 
President  and  Mrs.  Lincoln  who  were  warmly  hospi- 
table. Mrs.  Lincoln's  two  half-sisters,  Mrs.  Charles 
Kellogg  (Margaret  Todd)  of  Cincinnati  and  Mrs. 
Clement  White  (Martha  Todd)  of  Selma,  Alabama, 


Mary  Todd  at  the  Time  Lincoln  Met  Her 
Painted  by  Katherine  Helm  from  a  daguerreotype 


Abraham  Lincoln  as  He  Appeared  When  Mary  Todd  First  Met  Him 
From  a  daguerreotype  made  about  1887  owned  by  the  Lincoln  family 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  181 

had  come  on  to  be  present  at  the  inaugural  ceremonies. 
Mrs.  White  was  accused  of  smuggling  quinine  through 
the  lines  for  sick  Southern  soldiers,  but  except  for  a 
small  one-ounce  package  for  her  own  use  she  was  guilt- 
less of  this  charge. 

The  true  story  is  this:  "Mattie"  Todd  was  a  brilliant 
young  woman,  more  than  usually  attractive,  and  in 
appearance,  mind,  and  manner  more  like  Mary  Lin- 
coln than  any  of  her  sisters.  She  was  a  great  favorite 
with  her  brother-in-law.  Her  visits  to  Washington 
were  frequent  and  as  President  Lincoln  did  not  wish 
the  war  to  interrupt  them  he  gave  her  a  pass  which 
would  admit  her  through  the  lines  at  any  point  she 
chose.  On  one  of  these  visits,  not  wishing  to  burden 
the  White  House  with  two  trunks,  she  had  left  a 
"Saratoga,"  which  the  great  unwieldy  things  were 
called,  in  care  of  two  Baltimore  friends  at  a  hotel  in 
Washington.  The  trunk  contained  wearing  apparel 
which  she  would  not  need  during  her  short  visit  at  the 
White  House.  Handing  the  key  to  one  of  her  friends, 
6he  said,  "I  do  not  think  I  will  need  it,  but  if  I  send 
a  messenger,  please  go  into  the  trunk  and  send  me  a  blue 
brocade  gown,  which  you  will  find  in  the  top  tray." 

When  Mrs.  White  called  at  the  hotel  for  her  trunk  at 
the  expiration  of  her  visit  to  the  White  House,  her 
friends  had  returned  to  Baltimore  leaving  the  key  of 


1 82  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

her  trunk  at  the  hotel  office.  An  officer  who  had  fol- 
lowed Mrs.  White  insisted  on  examining  her  baggage. 
Mrs.  White  was  very  indignant,  showed  the  inspector 
her  pass  and  declared  that  she  had  nothing  contraband. 
The  inspector  touched  his  cap  and  left  without  further 
molesting  her.  What  was  her  amazement  and  morti- 
fication on  opening  her  trunks  later  to  find  a  splendid 
sword  and  a  uniform  for  General  Robert  E.  Lee,  which 
her  Baltimore  friends,  without  asking  her  permission 
and  without  her  knowledge,  had  stored  in  her  trunk. 
Her  first  impulse  was  to  return  immediately  to  the 
White  House  and  explain  the  whole  matter  to  Presi- 
dent Lincoln;  her  second  thought  was  a  fear  that  she 
might  imperil  her  friends  who  often  visited  Washing- 
ton. She  decided  she  had  better  seek  wise  council  in 
this  dilemma. 

On  her  arrival  at  Richmond,  Virginia,  she  at  once 
consulted  President  Davis,  whom  she  knew  as  well  as 
she  did  her  brother-in-law — should  she  carry  the  sword 
and  uniform  back  to  Washington  and  deliver  them  to 
President  Lincoln?  Of  course,  he  need  never  know, 
but  she  would  feel  dishonest  not  to  tell  him  about  it. 
President  Davis  decided  that  General  Lee  should  have 
the  sword  and  the  uniform,  but  Mrs.  White  was  so 
mortified  and  worried  over  the  matter,  that  President 
Davis,  who  had  for  many  years  been  on  pleasant  terms 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  183 

with  Mrs.  White's  brother-in-law,  wrote  a  personal 
letter,  with  his  own  hand,  to  President  Lincoln  explain- 
ing the  position  of  Mrs.  White.  Mrs.  White  went  with 
this  letter  to  Washington,  and  the  Great  Man  at  the 
White  House  took  the  incident  good-naturedly,  twit- 
ting Mattie  about  her  indignant  lie  to  the  inspector. 
This  was  the  last  time  Mrs.  White  ever  saw  her  brother- 
in-law  or  her  sister  Mary.  She  and  her  husband  were 
going  immediately  south,  for  their  hearts  were  with 
the  Confederacy.  This  contretemps  was  always  a  source 
of  regret  to  Mrs.  White,  who  was  entirely  innocent  of 
any  complicity  in  passing  contraband  articles  through 
the  lines. 

The  other  sister,  Mrs.  Charles  Kellogg,  who  had 
come  to  see  the  inaugural  ceremonies,  was  on  her  way 
with  her  husband  to  spend  several  years  in  Europe. 
Most  of  the  time  they  were  in  Italy  with  Mr.  Minor 
Kellogg  (a  brother  of  Charles  Kellogg),  who  was  an 
artist  and  made  his  home  in  Rome. 

About  the  middle  of  April,  1861,  Ben  Hardin  Helm 
went  to  Washington  in  response  to  a  cordial  personal 
letter  of  invitation  from  his  brother-in-law,  President 
Lincoln.  Although  Lincoln  knew  that  Helm  was  a 
strong  Southern-rights  Democrat,  on  the  27th  of  April 
he  handed  him  a  sealed  envelope.  "Ben,"  he  said,  "here 
is  something  for  you.    Think  it  over  by  yourself  and  let 


1 84  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

me  know  what  you  will  do."  The  envelope  contained 
a  commission  as  paymaster  in  the  United  States  Army 
with  rank  of  major.  This  was  the  opportunity  of 
Helm's  life.  He  knew  the  position  was  one  of  the  most 
coveted  in  the  service.  The  rank  of  major  at  his  age, 
thirty,  was  very  exceptional  in  the  army.  Nothing  had 
ever  touched  Helm  like  this. 

"The  position  you  offer  me  is  beyond  what  I  had 
expected  in  my  most  hopeful  dreams.  It  is  the  place 
above  all  others  which  suits  me,  Lincoln,"  said  Helm. 
"You  have  been  kind  and  generous  to  me  beyond  any- 
thing I  have  known.  I  have  no  claim  upon  you,  for  I 
opposed  your  candidacy  and  did  what  I  could  for  the 
election  of  another,  but  with  no  unkindly  feeling  to- 
wards you ;  I  wish  I  could  see  my  way.  I  will  try  to 
do  what  is  right.  Don't  let  this  offer  be  made  public 
yet.    You  shall  have  my  answer  in  a  few  days." 

Helm  had  graduated  from  West  Point  in  the  class  of 
1 85 1,  but  on  account  of  ill  health  had  been  compelled 
to  resign  from  the  service.  In  common,  however,  with 
all  the  graduates  of  the  military  academy,  he  longed  to 
get  back  into  the  military  service  and  this  was  a  bril- 
liant opportunity.  He  saw  many  of  his  old  army  com- 
rades and  had  a  talk  that  same  afternoon  with  Colonel 
Robert  E.  Lee  of  the  Second  Cavalry. 

Helm,  seeing  that  Colonel  Lee  was  laboring  under 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  185 

strong  emotion  of  some  kind,  anxiously  inquired,  "Are 
you  not  well,  Colonel  Lee?" 

"Well  in  body  but  not  in  mind,"  replied  the  stately 
soldier,  who  looked  the  gentleman  of  long  lineage  that 
he  was.  He  added  sadly,  "I  have  just  resigned  my 
commission  in  the  United  States  Army.  In  the  prime 
of  life  I  quit  a  service  wherein  were  all  my  expecta- 
tions and  hopes  in  this  world." 

Helm  handed  Colonel  Lee  the  letter  from  Mr.  Lin- 
coln offering  Helm  the  position  of  major  and  pay- 
master with  rank  from  that  date.  Colonel  Lee  read  it 
without  a  word. 

"Did  you  know  Mr.  Lincoln  is  my  brother-in-law?" 
asked  Helm. 

"No,  I  did  not,"  said  Colonel  Lee,  "but  now  let  me 
say  one  word.  I  have  no  doubt  of  his  [Lincoln's] 
kindly  intentions,  but  he  cannot  control  the  elements. 
There  must  be  a  great  war.  I  cannot  strike  at  my  own 
people,  so  to-day  I  wrote  out  my  resignation  and  have 
asked  General  Scott  as  a  favor  for  its  immediate  ac- 
ceptance. My  mind  is  too  much  disturbed  to  give  you 
any  advice.  But  do  what  your  conscience  and  honor 
bid." 

Neither  did  Helm  doubt  the  good  intentions  of 
Mr.  Lincoln,  he  knew  his  brother-in-law's  kindly  feel- 
ings towards  the  South.    But  could  one  man  stem  the 


1 86  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

tide  of  bitterness  and  hatred  that  was  forcing  the  two 
sections  into  mortal  conflict?  Helm's  father,  Governor 
Helm,  although  a  large  slave  owner,  was  a  strong 
Union  man  at  the  beginning  of  the  war.  Kentucky  had 
declared  for  neither  side  though  the  sentiment  was 
strongly  Southern,  to  use  a  slang  expression,  current 
at  that  time,  "she  was  on  the  fence"  and  "she  sat  on  the 
fence  cheering  both  sides  enduring  of  the  war,  though 
she  pretty  nigh  fell  off  on  the  South  side,"  as  an  old 
soldier  said  after  hostilities  were  over.  He  did  not 
quite  know  whether  to  be  proud  of  her  for  this  inde- 
cision. Mary  Lincoln  was  hoping  to  have  her  beautiful 
young  sister  Emilie  (Helm's  wife)  in  Washington  with 
her.  "Emilie  will  be  a  belle  at  the  White  House  recep- 
tions and  we  will  be  so  proud  of  her,"  smiled  Mary, 
and  "we  need  scholarly  dignified  young  men  like  your- 
self to  ornament  our  army." 

"The  ideal  career  was  before  me,"  said  General 
Helm.  "The  highest  positions  in  the  profession  for 
which  I  was  educated  were  opened  to  me  in  one  day. 
I  would  not  only  be  the  youngest  officer  of  my  rank  in 
the  army,  but  could  have  transferred  at  the  earliest  pos- 
sible moment  to  one  of  the  cavalry  regiments.  With 
the  changes  occurring  in  them  by  resignation,  I  would 
certainly  have  been  a  full  colonel  within  the  year." 
Helm  realized  the  possibilities  open  to  him,  that  he 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  187 

would  have  a  brilliant  career  in  the  profession  for 
which  he  was  eminently  fitted.  Added  to  this  he  had 
a  sincere  love  for  Mary  Lincoln  and  the  President, 
their  attitude  towards  him  was  most  affectionate  and 
their  estimate  of  his  ability  was  extremely  gratifying 
to  Helm.  "Good-bye"  said  Mary,  sending  a  kiss  for 
Emilie.  "We  hope  very  soon  to  see  you  both  in  Wash- 
ington." And  with  a  warm  clasp  of  the  hand  for 
Lincoln,  Helm  and  his  brother-in-law  parted  never  to 
meet  again  in  this  life.  When  Helm  returned  to  Ken- 
tucky he  met  in  Frankfort  General  Simon  Bolivar 
Buckner,  who  had  been  his  instructor  at  West  Point 
and  for  whom  he  had  a  warm  friendship,  and  his 
friend,  Tom  Monroe,  then  Secretary  of  State,  an  im- 
passioned States'  Rights  man.  Helm  talked  with  many 
of  his  friends,  most  of  whom  were  going  South. 

General  Buckner  had  been  made  inspector-general 
of  Kentucky,  with  rank  of  major-general.  Kentucky 
was  in  a  furore  of  excitement.  Helm  could  not  remain 
in  this  fierce  contest  unmoved  and,  like  Colonel  Lee,  he 
felt  that  he  could  not  strike  against  his  own  people. 
He  wrote  to  President  Lincoln,  declining  the  position 
of  paymaster.  In  the  War  Department  is  this  record : 
Helm,  Ben  Hardin,  nominated  for  paymaster  in  the 
United  States  Army,  April  27,  1861.    Declined." 

"I  had  a  bitter  struggle  with  myself,"  said  General 


1 88  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

Helm;  "such  an  opportunity  rarely  offers  itself  in  a 
lifetime.  The  most  painful  moment  of  my  life  was 
when  I  declined  the  generous  offer  of  my  brother-in- 
law."  At  least  twice  in  1861  and  1862  did  General 
Helm  find  opportunity  to  send  kindly  messages  to 
President  Lincoln.  He  believed  in  Lincoln's  sincerity, 
and  a  difference  in  views  could  not  affect  his  love  for 
Mary  and  his  brother-in-law. 

Among  the  friends  and  relatives  from  Springfield 
who  were  frequent  guests  at  the  White  House  were 
Mrs.  Lincoln's  cousins,  John  T.  Stuart  and  Stephen 
T.  Logan,  also  Mrs.  Lincoln's  nieces,  and  her  sister 
Mrs.  Ninian  Edwards. 

Living  in  Washington  at  that  time  were  some  kins- 
men of  Mary  Lincoln's  stepmother.  John  C.  Breck- 
inridge, United  States  Senator  from  Kentucky,  who 
later  was  a  major-general  in  the  Confederate  Army. 
Tall,  dignified,  and  strikingly  handsome,  he  com- 
manded attention  in  any  assembly  of  men.  Governor 
Gratz  Brown  of  Missouri,  Postmaster-General  Mont- 
gomery Blair,  and  General  Frank  P.  Blair;  the  latter 
having  married  his  cousin,  Miss  Appelline  Alexander 
of  Versailles,  Kentucky,  also  a  kinswoman  of  Mrs. 
Todd,  made  in  that  case  a  still  closer  tie.  On  the 
strength  of  these  family  connections,  Mary  was  hailed 
by  them  as  "Cousin  Mary"  and,  according  to  the  good 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  189 

old  clannish  Kentucky  custom  of  claiming  relationship 
as  far  off  as  possible,  they  evidently  extended  this 
cousinly  regard  to  Mary's  cousins,  for  Mrs.  Grimsley 
writes : 

"My  relation  on  the  other  side  of  the  house,  General 
John  C.  Breckinridge,  was  open  and  above  board.  He 
called  a  number  of  times,  before  leaving  Washington, 
and  most  complacently  said  to  me,  'Cousin  Lizzie,  I 
would  not  like  you  to  be  disappointed  in  your  expected 
stay  at  the  White  House,  so  I  will  now  invite  you  to 
remain  here  as  a  guest,  when  the  Confederation  takes 
possession.'  Mrs.  Lincoln  replied,  'We  will  only  be 
too  happy  to  entertain  her  until  that  time,  general.' 
Whereupon  arose  a  seemingly  merry  war  of  words,  but 
there  was  a  perceptible  undercurrent  of  storm  and 
sting,  as  would  naturally  be  the  case  when  two  bright, 
quick,  embittered  brains  and  tongues  wage  a  contest. 
And  this  was  not  an  unequal  one,  for  Mrs.  Lincoln  was 
a  woman  of  fine  native  mental  qualities,  vivacious,  in- 
tellectual, and  a  charming  conversationalist." 

Mrs.  Lincoln  wrote  that  Senator  Harris  came  fre- 
quently to  the  drawing  room  at  the  White  House  and, 
finding  Senator  Sumner  there,  said  in  his  cheerful  way, 
"Ah,  Sumner,  we  are  sure  of  finding  you  here."  And 
Senator  Sumner  replied,  "This  is  the  first  administra- 


190  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

tion  in  which  I  have  ever  felt  disposed  to  visit  the 

house,  and  I  consider  it  a  privilege." 

Senator  Sumner  "was  a  model  of  forensic  elegance, 
scholarly  culture,  and  precision."  He  spoke  even  in 
ordinary  conversation  with  great  care  and  fastidious- 
ness in  the  choice  of  words.  He  was  equally  fastidious 
in  his  style  of  dress  and  was  easily  the  Beau  Brummell 
of  the  Senate.  His  wide  reading  and  anti-slavery  views 
made  him  very  congenial  to  President  and  Mrs.  Lin- 
coln, who  classed  him  as  one  of  their  most  valued 
friends — a  friendship  which  was  amply  proven  when 
he  so  valiantly  battled  for  a  pension  for  the  widow  of 
the  slain  President. 

Washington  being  extremely  trying  during  the  sum- 
mer months,  it  was  decided  that  Mrs.  Lincoln  should 
get  a  breath  of  fresh  air  at  Long  Branch  and  Saratoga. 
There  she  nursed  Tad  through  a  spell  of  illness,  and 
later  had  to  send  her  regrets  to  a  large  ball  given  in  her 
honor  on  account  of  the  severe  illness  of  her  friend 
Mrs.  Shearer. 

On  her  return  to  Washington  in  November,  Mrs. 
Lincoln  found  her  husband  weighed  down  with  cares 
of  state,  looking  thin,  careworn,  and  anxious.  The 
whole  town  was  in  a  turmoil  of  excitement.  Every- 
body was  eager  for  the  latest  news  from  the  seat  of 
war.    There  were  groans  of  sorrow  and  shouts  of  joy. 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  191 

The  White  House  was  thronged  from  morning  until 
night  with  office-seekers,  pardon-seekers,  and  sight- 
seeing strangers.  No  rest,  no  peace,  her  beloved  hus- 
band looking  more  pitifully  careworn  and  sad  each  day. 
At  the  battle  of  Ball's  Bluff,  October  21,  in  the  death 
of  Colonel  E.  D.  Baker  (for  whom  they  had  named 
their  second  son),  President  and  Mrs.  Lincoln  lost  one 
of  their  oldest  and  dearest  friends.  Not  only  did  they 
grieve  sincerely,  but  the  children,  Willie  and  Tad,  who 
loved  him,  could  not  be  consoled,  Willie  wrote  the 
following  verses  which  appeared  in  the  National 
Republican: 

"Washington,  D.  C. 
October  30,  1861. 
Dear  Sir: 

I  enclose  you  my  first  attempt  at  poetry. 

Yours  truly, 
Wm.  W.  Lincoln." 
To  the  Editor  of  the  National  Republican  Times. 

On  the  Death  of  Colonel  Edward  Baker 

There  was  no  patriot  like  Baker 
So  noble  and  so  true; 
He  fell  as  a  soldier  on  the  field 
His  face  to  the  sky  of  blue. 

His  voice  is  silent  in  the  hall 
Which  oft  his  presence  graced, 


192  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

No  more  he'll  hear  the  loud  acclaim 
Which  rang  from  place  to  place. 

No  squeamish  notions  filled  his  breast 
The  Union  was  his  theme. 
No  surrender  and  no  compromise 
His  day  thought  and  nights  dream. 

His  country  has  her  part  to  pay 
To'rds  those  he  left  behind 
His  widow  and  his  children  all 
We  must  always  keep  in  mind. 


CHAPTER   IX 

SHADOWS 

AT  NO  time  in  the  history  of  our  country  was  any 
^  ^  President's  wife  ever  placed  in  such  a  trying  posi- 
tion as  fell  to  the  lot  of  Mary  Lincoln.  President 
Lincoln  was  lovingly  called  the  "Great  Emancipator" 
by  one  section;  "The  Abolitionist"  with  unmitigated 
scorn  by  the  other.  Mrs.  Lincoln,  in  company  with 
her  husband,  was  reviled  by  Southerners,  contemptu- 
ously thought  of  as  a  traitor  to  her  people  and  their 
principles.  On  the  other  hand,  being  Southern-born 
of  a  Southern-sympathizing  family,  with  four  brothers 
in  the  Confederate  Army  and  three  brothers-in-law 
officers  in  the  same  service  and  hosts  of  other  friends 
and  relatives  in  the  south  wearing  "the  gray,"  1  the 
Northerners  distrusted  her,  feared  her,  hated  her,  in- 
sulted her — all  without  cause,  for  she  believed  with  all 
her  soul  in  her  husband's  policies,  and  of  the  principles 
which  he  advocated  she  had  been  ardently  in  favor 

1  George  Todd,  surgeon  in  Confederate  service,  Mary  Lincoln's  full 
brother,  survived  the  war  many  years;  Samuel  Todd,  killed  at  Shiloh; 
David  Todd,  never  recovered  from  wound  received  at  Vicksburg.  Though 
reported  "dying,"  he  survived,  an  invalid,  for  a  few  years  after  the  war 
was  over;  Alexander  Todd,  killed  at  Baton  Rouge;  General  Ben  Hardin 
Helm,  killed  at  Chickamauga  (married  Emilie  Todd);  Colonel  N.  H. 
R.  Dawson,  Selma,  Alabama  (married  Elodie  Todd)  ;  Captain  Clem  B. 
White  (married  Martha  Todd). 

193 


i94  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

since  her  girlhood.  When  she  was  about  sixteen  years 
old  several  occurrences  besides  the  selling  of  old  King 
Solomon,  which  incident,  related  in  an  earlier  chapter, 
had  roused  her  indignation,  made  her  feel  that  the 
institution  of  slavery  was  wrong. 

Mary  had  grown  to  young  womanhood  with  the  hope 
and  belief  that  all  slaves  should  and  would  be  gradu- 
ally emancipated,  but  she  felt  it  only  right  that  slaves 
should  be  taken  care  of  by  their  owners  until  they 
reached  an  age  where  they  could  support  themselves 
as  directed  by  the  will  of  Mrs.  Humphreys.  And  now, 
in  1 86 1,  her  vivid  imagination  pictured  the  negro  free, 
civilized — she  would  talk  by  the  hour  of  schemes  for 
the  betterment  and  the  colonization  of  the  negro;  she 
would  get  quite  breathless  with  interest  and  excitement. 
The  negro  would  have  little  chance  in  a  white  man's 
country  where  equality,  social  and  political,  would 
always  be  denied  him,  but,  led  by  a  few  superior  and 
well-educated  negroes  like  Fred  Douglass,  what  might 
they  not  attain  of  greatness  in  their  own  native  coun- 
try! A  vast  country  of  undiscovered  wealth,  the  white 
man  would  some  day  awake  to  its  possibilities,  and  the 
negroes'  toil  would  fill  the  white  man's  pocket.  Why 
should  not  the  negro  benefit  by  the  wealth  of  his  own 
country  produced  by  his  own  labor?    He  would  thrive 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  195 

and  grow  fat  in  a  climate  which  would  spell  death  to 
a  white  man. 

Mary  Lincoln  made  at  this  time  some  very  true  and 
lasting  friends.  Those  who  knew  her  best  were  her 
greatest  admirers.  Mrs.  Bates,  whose  husband  was 
attorney-general  in  Lincoln's  cabinet,  expressed  the 
warmest  sympathy  for  Mrs.  Lincoln,  "whose  trials 
were  many  and  known  to  but  few.  As  the  wife  of  a 
man  under  constant  hostile  criticism,  she  received  scant 
courtesy  in  some  quarters.  Mrs.  Lincoln  lived  for  her 
husband  and  children,  banishing  before  a  never  flag- 
ging cheerfulness  her  husband's  cares  of  office  while 
at  home." 

Frank  G.  Carpenter,  who  lived  at  the  White  House 
for  several  months  while  painting  the  famous  picture 
"Reading  the  Emancipation  Proclamation,"  said  of 
her:  "She  was  a  very  brilliant  woman,  an  excellent 
linguist,  speaking  French  as  easily  as  her  native  tongue. 
There  is  no  denying  a  quality  and  quantity  of  high 
spiritedness  in  her  temperament." 

General  Sickles,  in  an  address,  said:  "It  was  my 
privilege  to  know  President  Lincoln  and  his  consort 
through  all  the  years  they  spent  at  the  White  House. 
I  have  never  seen  a  more  devoted  couple.  He  always 
called  her  Mother  and  she  always  called  him  Father. 
In  their  domestic  relations  and  in  their  devotion  to 


196  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

their  children,  I  have  never  seen  a  more  congenial 
couple.  He  always  looked  to  her  for  comfort  and  con- 
solation in  his  troubles  and  cares.  Indeed,  the  only 
joy  poor  Lincoln  knew  after  reaching  the  White  House 
were  his  wife  and  children.  She  shared  all  his  troubles 
and  never  recovered  from  the  culminating  blow  when 
he  was  assassinated." 

John  Lothrop  Motley's  account  of  an  interview  he 
had  with  her  in  the  White  House  after  his  return  from 
Europe,  where  he  had  met  the  most  accomplished  and 
elegant  women  in  London  and  Vienna,  is  certainly 
worthy  of  consideration.  Mr.  James  G.  Blaine  also 
spoke  of  her  in  terms  of  great  admiration. 

It  had  been  decided  that  in  these  troublous  times  a 
seeming  show  of  cheerfulness  at  the  White  House 
would  put  heart  into  the  soldiers.  There  must  be  no 
indication  of  sadness  at  the  Capitol  to  cast  an  addi- 
tional gloom  of  uncertainty  over  the  North,  so  the  usual 
round  of  receptions,  levees,  and  dinners  for  the  winter 
season  of  1862  were  being  planned.  The  first  day  of 
January  was  ushered  in  by  President  and  Mrs.  Lincoln 
with  a  New  Year's  reception.  In  February  little 
Willie  (William  Wallace)  became  very  ill,  and  his 
mother,  frantic  with  anxiety,  hung  over  him  with  lov- 
ing care,  oblivious  of  every  other  thing  in  the  world. 
If  she  could  only  save  the  life  of  her  little  blue-eyed 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  197 

boy,  nothing  else  mattered.  The  child's  father,  too, 
spent  every  minute  he  could  spare  from  the  duties  of 
state,  in  the  sickroom. 

Here  is  a  clipping  from  a  Washington  paper  headed, 
"Sickness  in  the  President's  family." 

"It  was  announced  yesterday  that  the  usual  Saturday 
receptions  at  the  White  House  and  the  levee  on  Tues- 
day would  be  omitted  on  account  of  the  illness  of  the 
second  son  of  the  President,  an  interesting  lad  of  about 
eight  years  of  age,  who  has  been  lying  dangerously  ill 
of  bilious  fever  for  the  last  three  days.  Mrs.  Lincoln 
has  not  left  his  bedside  since  Wednesday  night,  and 
fears  are  entertained  for  her  health.  This  evening  the 
fever  has  abated  and  hopes  are  entertained  for  the  re- 
covery of  the  little  sufferer." 

In  spite,  however,  of  every  effort  made  to  save  him, 
Willie  died  on  February  20,  and  the  grief  of  his  parents 
was  too  deep  for  them  ever  to  allude  to  this  sorrow. 

Nathaniel  Parker  Willis  pays  Willie  this  tribute  in 
the  Home  Journal:  "This  little  fellow  had  his  ac- 
quaintances among  his  father's  friends,  and  I  chanced 
to  be  one  of  them.  He  never  failed  to  seek  me  out 
in  the  crowd,  shake  hands  and  make  some  pleasant 
remark;  and  this  in  a  boy  of  ten  years  of  age  was,  to 
say  the  least,  endearing  to  a  stranger.  But  he  had  more 
than    mere    affectionateness.      His    self-possession — 


198  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

aplomb,  as  the  French  call  it — was  extraordinary.  I 
was  one  day  passing  the  White  House  when  he  was 
outside  with  a  play-fellow  on  the  side  walk.  Mr. 
Seward  drove  in  with  Prince  Napoleon  and  two  of  his 
suite  in  the  carriage,  and  in  a  mock-heroic  way — terms 
of  amusing  intimacy  evidently  existing  between  the 
boy  and  the  secretary — the  official  gentleman  took  off 
his  hat,  and  the  Napoleon  party  did  the  same,  all  mak- 
ing the  young  prince  President  a  ceremonious  salute. 
Not  a  bit  staggered  with  the  homage,  Willie  drew  him- 
self up  to  his  full  height,  took  off  his  little  cap  with 
graceful  self-possession,  and  bowed  down  formally  to 
the  ground,  like  a  little  ambassador.  They  drove  past 
and  he  went  on  unconcerned  with  his  play;  the  im- 
promptu readiness  and  good  judgment  being  clearly  a 
part  of  his  nature.  His  genial  and  open  expression  of 
countenance  was  none  the  less  ingenuous  and  fearless 
for  a  certain  tincture  of  fun,  and  it  was  in  this  mingling 
of  qualities  that  he  so  faithfully  resembled  his  father." 

Mr.  Lincoln  tried  in  many  ways  to  distract  Mary's 
mind  from  the  grief  which  was  consuming  her. 

Madame  Patti  being  in  Washington  soon  after 
Willie's  death,  Mr.  Lincoln  invited  her  to  the  White 
House.  Mr.  Lincoln  had  met  Patti  in  concert  with 
Ole  Bull  in  1853  when  Patti  was  only  ten  years  of  age; 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  199 

and  at  that  time,  in  speaking  of  her  to  Mary,  had  pre- 
dicted for  her  a  great  future.  Patti  says,  (Courier- 
Journal,  Louisville,  Kentucky)  : 

"The  following  afternoon  my  manager  took  me  to 
the  White  House  and  we  were  received  by  Mrs.  Lin- 
coln in  one  of  the  big  parlors.  The  President's  wife 
was  a  handsome  woman,  almost  regal  in  her  deep  black 
and  expansive  crinoline,  only  an  outline  of  white  at 
throat  and  wrists.  Her  manner  was  most  gracious 
without  a  particle  of  reserve  or  stiffness.  'My  dear,  it 
is  very  kind  of  you  to  come  to  see  us,'  she  said.  Tak- 
ing both  my  hands  in  hers  and  smiling  in  my  face,  she 
added,  'I  have  wanted  to  see  you ; — to  see  the  young  girl 
who  has  done  so  much,  who  has  set  the  whole  world 
talking  of  her  wonderful  singing.' 

"Then  the  President  entered  the  room.  He  greeted 
us  cordially,  and  again  mentioned  the  great  change  in 
me  since  the  Ole  Bull  concert.  'I  shall  always  regret, 
Mary,  that  you  were  not  with  me  at  that  time,'  he  said, 
turning  to  his  wife.  %  too,'  she  replied,  'have  re- 
gretted it.'  Without  waiting  to  be  asked,  I  volunteered 
to  sing  for  Mrs.  Lincoln.  'Thank  you  so  much,  my 
dear,'  she  said.  I  drew  off  my  gloves  and  went  to  the 
piano.  Mr.  Strakosch  accompanied  me  in  a  couple  of 
rather  florid  things.    Then  I  sang  to  my  own  accom- 


200  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

paniment,  'The  Last  Rose  of  Summer.'  When  I  had 
finished  the  last  long-drawn-out  note  of  the  song,  I 
turned  to  have  a  look  at  my  audience.  Mrs.  Lincoln 
had  risen  from  her  seat  and  was  standing  at  a  window 
in  the  back  part  of  the  room  with  her  back  toward  me. 
I  could  not  see  her  face  but  I  knew  she  was  weeping. 
The  melancholy  strains  of  the  ballad  had  set  her  heart 
aching  with  renewed  sadness.  I  felt  I  had  made  an 
awkward  choice." 

After  singing,  at  Mr.  Lincoln's  request,  "Home, 
Sweet  Home,"  Patti  was  so  wrought  up  over  the  situa- 
tion that  she  says  she  was  weeping  herself  as  she  took 
leave  of  the  bereaved  parents. 

In  addition  to  her  grief  over  her  little  son's  death, 
Mary  Lincoln,  loving  her  own  family  with  warm- 
hearted clannishness,  was  filled  with  apprehension  on 
their  account.  As  one  after  another  of  her  brothers  fell 
in  the  Confederate  service,  her  heart  was  torn  with 
more  and  more  sorrow. 

When  the  Civil  War  broke  out  Mary  Lincoln  had 
five  living  brothers.  Levi  Todd  (her  full  brother)  was 
living  in  Lexington,  Kentucky.  He  was  a  Unionist, 
but  his  health  was  too  infirm  for  him  to  take  an  active 
part  in  the  hostilities,  and  before  the  war  came  to  an 
end  he  was  buried  from  the  home  of  his  stepmother  in 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  201 

Lexington.  Three  of  her  brothers  were  living  in  New 
Orleans.  Dr.  George  Todd  (her  full  brother)  was 
early  appointed  surgeon  in  the  Confederate  service  and 
survived  the  war  for  many  years.  Sam  and  David 
Todd  were  in  business  in  New  Orleans,  and  Alexander, 
the  youngest  of  the  Todd  brothers,  who  was  living  in 
Kentucky  at  the  commencement  of  the  war,  became 
aide-de-camp  to  his  brother-in-law  General  Ben  Har- 
din Helm. 

In  March,  1862,  when  Beauregard  was  appointed  to 
the  West  and  sent  out  to  stay  the  progress  of  the  Fed- 
eral Army  under  Grant  and  Sherman  through  Ken- 
tucky and  Tennessee,  he  made  a  call  upon  Louisiana, 
his  native  State,  to  come  to  his  aid.  Among  the  several 
thousand  young  and  ardent  volunteers  was  young  Sam 
Todd,  who  enrolled  himself  in  Company  I,  Crescent 
Regiment.  A  month  later  he  lost  his  life  in  the  fierce 
battle  of  Shiloh. 

The  Richmond  (Va.)  State  contained  this  article: 

"The  day  before  the  battle  of  Shiloh  was  fought  the 
writer  and  several  others  gave  a  dinner  to  some  half  a 
dozen  of  their  personal  friends  of  the  Crescent  Regiment, 
Washington  Artillery,  etc. ;  and  Sam  Todd  was  one  of  the 
favorite  guests,  jovial  Sam  Todd !  Who  that  knew  him  can 
ever  forget  him — all  soul — all  fun  and  fire  too — he  was  a 


202  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

gay  happy  youth  of  splendid  address  and  fine  social  posi- 
tion, handsome  in  person  and  very  popular.  Being  an 
ardent  Southerner  his  standing  among  his  friends  was  not 
injured  by  his  being  a  brother-in-law  of  the  President  or 
'Old  Abe'  as  Lincoln  was  called. 

"The  diners  separated  for  the  march  and  the  next  day 
by  sunrise  were  in  the  midst  of  battle.  The  first  day, 
though  the  battle  was  fierce,  desperate  and  hotly  contested 
the  Confederates  were  happy  at  scoring  a  victory.  They 
slept  on  the  field  in  a  drenching  rain  with  logs  for  pillows. 
In  the  morning  they  were  all  up  and  in  line.  Before  ad- 
vancing, while  some  one  was  boiling  coffee  and  others  were 
boiling  a  pot  of  potatoes,  a  young  fellow  in  the  uniform 
of  the  Crescents  came  up  and  expressed  a  wish  for  one  of 
the  'Murphys'  when  they  were  done.  It  was  Sam  Todd 
who  was  congratulated  on  his  good  fortune  in  the  fight — 
before  Sam  got  the  'Murphy'  the  order  came  to  fall  in  at 
once  as  the  Federals  were  advancing  in  force.  It  was  the 
new  troops  of  Buell  and  Nelson.  Sam  Todd's  regiment 
was  promptly  thrown  to  the  front  and  Sam  with  a  bullet 
in  his  forehead  was  one  of  the  first  to  fall.  The  Con- 
federates were  driven  back  and  still  further  back,  leaving 
their  dead  on  the  field  to  be  buried  with  grim  and  hasty 
funeral  rites  by  Grant.  Among  them  there  was  no  better 
man  or  more  devoted  soldier  of  the  Confederacy  than  this 
gallant  young  brother  of  the  'Lady  of  the  White  House'." 

The  "Lady  of  the  White  House"  received  this  news 
with  a  heavy  heart.    Sam  dead  on  the  field  of  battle! 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  203 

Sam,  the  baby  brother  she  had  loved  to  cuddle  when 
old  Mammy  Sally  had  allowed  her  to  hold  him  a  few 
minutes  when  she  was  a  little  girl;  the  baby  so  tiny 
and  fragile  that  she  had  confided  to  Mrs.  Clay  he  was 
too  soft  to  be  healthy.  Sam,  who  was  so  handsome,  so 
courtly. 

When  she  last  saw  him  in  Kentucky,  the  Todds  were 
all  out  in  the  country  at  Buena  Vista.  They  were  sad- 
dened then  at  the  loss  of  her  father  and  little  Eddie, 
but  happy  in  contrast  with  the  grief-stricken  present. 
How  well  Sam  looked  on  horseback — how  she  had 
enjoyed  riding  with  him — and  Mary  Lincoln,  with 
purple  rings  under  her  dry  eyes,  bit  her  trembling  lips 
to  hold  back  her  heavy  sobs.  She  must  not  betray  her 
grief.  In  helping  others  perhaps  she  might  find  com- 
fort, so  much  of  her  time  was  given  to  visiting  hospitals. 
Some  presents  of  wine  came  to  the  White  House  about 
this  time,  champagne,  green  seal  and  other  seal,  white 
wine  from  the  Rhine,  wines  from  Spain  and  Portugal, 
brandy,  Jamaica  rum.  "They  do  not  seem  to  have  for- 
gotten anything,"  said  Mrs.  Lincoln.  "But  what  shall 
I  do  with  it?  Mr.  Lincoln  never  touches  any  strong 
drink.  I  never  use  it.  I  will  thank  these  gentlemen, 
and  the  poor  sick  soldiers  shall  have  it  all."  She  was 
exceedingly  pleased  to  have  such  a  carefully  selected 
medical  supply  to  distribute. 


204  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

"Executive  Mansion,  Washington 
August  16,  1862. 
"Hon.  Hiram  Barney 
New  York. 

Mrs.  L.  has  $1000  for  the  benefit  of  the  hospitals,  and 
she  will  be  obliged  and  send  the  pay  if  you  will  be  so  good 
as  to  select  and  send  her  $200  worth  of  good  lemons  and 
$100  worth  of  good  oranges. 

A.  Lincoln." 

The  Chronicle,  November  29,  1862: 

"Mrs.  Lincoln  returned  to  Washington  on  Thursday 
evening,  apparently  much  improved  by  her  visit  to  the 
North.  The  sick  and  wounded  soldiers  in  our  hospitals  will 
hail  her  return  with  joy." 

Mrs.  Lincoln  was  seen  many  times  a  week  at  the  hos- 
pitals, attendants  carrying  baskets  of  dainties  especially 
prepared  at  the  White  House  and  baskets  of  flowers  to 
cheer  the  sick  soldiers.  A  letter  written  by  an  old  sol- 
dier when  he  heard  of  Mrs.  Lincoln's  death  will  show 
how  welcome  her  visits  were. 

"The  death  of  the  widow  of  the  great  Emancipator  will 
cause  a  feeling  of  sorrow  all  over  this  country  but  it  will  be 
a  cause  of  particular  sorrow  to  the  soldiers  of  the  Army  of 
the  Potomac  who,  sick  or  wounded  in  the  Washington  hos- 
pitals, were  the  objects  of  her  especial  care  and  attention. 
At  the  first  battle  of  Fredericksburg  I  received  a  painful 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  205 

wound  in  the  face  *  *  *  among  the  many  who  came  to  the 
hospital  to  speak  cheering  words  to  the  afflicted  none  was 
more  kind  or  showed  a  nobler  spirit  than  the  wife  of  the 
Chief  Magistrate  of  the  Nation.  She  called  regularly, 
bringing  with  her  by  attendants  flowers,  fruits  and  delicacies 
and  bestowing  them  with  her  own  hand  with  a  grace  worthy 
of  the  station  she  held  *  *  *  she  lives  in  the  memory  of 
those  whose  agonies  she  soothed  with  loving  words. 

Frank  G.  Thompson." 

Newspaper  clipping,  1862 — "Mrs.  Lincoln": 

"Now  for  our  own  country,  with  its  ordeal  of  fire  and 
its  baptism  of  blood.  The  lady  who  presides  as  the  wife 
of  the  Chief  Magistrate  brought  with  her  from  the  West  a 
reputation  for  refinement  and  love  of  the  beautiful  that 
has  been  admirably  realized.  The  stamp  of  her  exquisite 
taste  is  left  on  the  furnishing  of  the  Presidential  Mansion, 
that  never  looked  so  well  as  now;  and  though  in  deepest 
mourning  there  is  a  delicacy  displayed  in  the  arrangement 
of  her  toilette  that  is  unequaled  in  any  country  for  its 
classic  adaptation  and  elegance.  She  possesses  that  calm 
and  conscious  dignity,  that  is  unruffled  by  envy  and  unsul- 
lied by  detraction,  though  malice  hides  itself  in  the  tongues 
of  the  Secessionists.  She  was  celebrated  for  her  conver- 
sational powers  in  the  society  in  which  she  moved  in  St. 
Louis  and  at  Chicago,  and  her  kindness  and  cordiality  has 
acted  like  oil  poured  on  troubled  waters  here.  In  youth 
she  must  have  been  very  beautiful  and  'like  light  within  a 
vase'  her  whole  features  illuminate  with  their  joyous  sparkle 


206  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

of  a  cultivated  intellect.  Well  may  Dr.  Russell  say  'I  was 
never  more  disappointed  [surprised?]  in  any  person  than 
Mrs.  Lincoln ;  her  manners  would  adorn  a  court.'  The  at- 
mosphere of  elevated  sentiments,  such  as  seeks  companion- 
ship with  the  divine  virtues  of  our  nature  and  never  de- 
scends from  its  higher  sphere  dwells  and  abides  with  her. 
Her  voice  is  rich  with  the  cadence  of  a  pure  and  patriotic 
and  womanly  heart.  In  her  mission  of  mercy  to  sick 
soldiers  she  fears  no  disease,  and  having  felt  deep  be- 
reavement herself,  she  gently  dries  the  tears  of  the  widow 
and  the  orphan.  Such  is  she,  to  whom  God  grant  many 
long  and  sunny  days  on  earth  to  do  his  good  word  and 
work." 

The  second  sad  summer  wore  away.  Hardly  a  day 
passed  that  Mary  Lincoln's  heart  was  not  wrung  with 
fear  on  account  of  letters  warning  the  President  of  as- 
sassination. When  she  saw  him  preparing  for  a  walk 
she  would  cling  to  him,  and  beg  him  not  to  leave  the 
White  House  without  a  guard;  when  the  President 
laughed  at  her  fears  and  assured  her  that  her  imagina- 
tion was  playing  her  tricks,  she  would  look  up  into  his 
face  with  a  brave  little  smile,  but  in  her  heart  was  fear. 
The  strain  of  the  war,  her  incurable  grief  for  Willie, 
the  suppressed  anxiety  for  her  Southern  kindred,  and 
this  ever-clutching  fear  for  her  husband's  safety  were 
slowly,  relentlessly,  sapping  her  life  and  strength.  At 
the  least  noise,  the  ringing  of  a  bell,  the  dropping  of  a 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  207 

book,  her  face  would  be  drained  of  color,  and  her  hand 
would  fly  to  her  heart  in  sudden  and  uncontrollable 
panic.  November  brought  the  news  that  another 
brother,  David  Todd,  lay  mortally  wounded  after  the 
battle  of  Vicksburg  and  his  sister  at  the  White  House, 
with  a  frozen  smile  on  her  lips  and  a  heart  of  lead,  must 
listen  to  the  shouts  of  rejoicing  over  Grant's  victory. 
While  her  brother  lay  dying  she  must  shed  no  tear,  utter 
no  word  of  grief  lest  it  be  construed  as  sympathy  for 
the  Southern  cause.  The  President  appreciated  his 
wife's  efforts  at  self-control  and  his  love  for  her  was 
very  tender  and  protective. 

"Executive  Mansion,  Washington 
December  21,  1862. 
"Mrs.  A.  Lincoln 
Continental  Hotel, 
Philadelphia. 

Do  not  come  on  the  night  train.  It  is  too  cold.  Come 
in  the  morning. 

A.  Lincoln." 

Christmas,  1862,  Washington  for  the  Federals  was 
filled  with  gloom.  The  Confederates  had  been  success- 
ful in  the  fighting  around  Fredericksburg,  Virginia. 
Washington  was  filled  with  wounded  and  dying  men, 
nevertheless,  the  administration  demanded  that  the  fes- 
tivities of  the  holiday  season  must  be  observed.    The 


208  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

gloom  and  discouragement  must  not  be  acknowledged. 
The  President  on  New  Year's  morning  at  eleven  o'clock 
received  the  shining  officials  of  the  diplomatic  corps 
and  the  officers  of  the  army  and  navy  who  happened  to 
be  in  town.  At  twelve  o'clock  noon  the  gates  of  the 
White  House  grounds  were  flung  wide,  and  the  clam- 
orous people  were  admitted  in  instalments. 

The  President  and  Mrs.  Lincoln  must  wear  smiling 
faces  even  if  their  eyes  were  far  away  with  sad  thoughts. 
And  now  that  Robert  was  pleading  to  leave  college  and 
enter  the  army,  a  new  anxiety  was  looming  big  with 
fear  to  the  mother  who  had  already  lost  two  of  her  boys. 
"Robert  is  too  young  to  leave  college,  he  will  give  more 
efficient  service  to  his  country  with  a  finished  educa- 
tion," she  pleaded  and,  with  a  sigh  of  relief,  she  saw 
that  her  arguments  had  won  a  respite  of  at  least  a  few 
more  months.  Tad,  who  lived  merrily  and  vitally  in 
the  present,  could  dispel  the  gloomy  thoughts  of  the 
past  and  instill  a  feeling  of  youth  and  hopefulness  in 
the  hearts  of  his  parents. 

On  the  first  day  of  January,  1863,  Lincoln  rewrote 
the  proclamation  of  emancipation  and  it  was  duly 
signed  by  him  that  same  afternoon. 

The  outcry  in  the  North  that  Mary  Lincoln  was  not 
in  sympathy  with  her  husband  in  regard  to  slavery  had 
absolutely  no  foundation,  and  when  she  was  accused 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  209 

of  disloyalty  to  the  Union — of  corresponding  with  Se- 
cessionists— it  hurt  her  to  the  quick  and  she  denied  her- 
self the  privilege  of  opening  any  private  or  personal 
letters  or  packages  until  they  had  first  been  censored. 
Mr.  Stoddard,  in  a  letter  to  Dr.  Spencer,  of  Lexington, 
Kentucky,  calls  her  "a  noble-hearted  woman,  who  was 
one  of  the  best  friends  I  ever  had.  During  nearly  the 
whole  of  her  husband's  first  term,  I  was  half  jocularly 
described  as  her  secretary,  her  constant  attendant  at  all 
receptions,  public  or  social,  and  her  advisor  in  many 
affairs.  She  was  a  woman  much  misrepresented  and 
scandalously  abused.  For  instance,  the  slanders  assail- 
ing her  patriotism,  which  was  sincere  and  earnest;  ac- 
cusations of  correspondence  with  secessionists,  etc. 
During  all  that  time  she  would  open  no  letter  or  parcel 
until  I  had  opened  and  decided  whether  she  should 


see  it." 


Early  in  April  in  a  raging  snowstorm,  the  President, 
Mrs.  Lincoln,  and  Tad  visited  the  Army  of  the  Poto- 
mac. Mr.  Noah  Brooks,  who  accompanied  them,  said : 
"So  thick  was  the  weather  and  so  difficult  the  naviga- 
tion, that  we  were  forced  to  anchor  for  the  night  in  a 
little  cove  in  the  Potomac  opposite  Indian  Head,  where 
we  remained  until  the  following  morning.  I  could  not 
help  thinking  that  if  the  Rebels  had  made  a  raid  on  the 
Potomac  at  that  time,  the  capture  of  the  Chief  Magis- 


210  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

trate  of  the  United  States  would  have  been  a  very  sim- 
ple matter.  So  far  as  I  could  see,  there  were  no  guards 
on  board  the  boat  and  no  precautions  were  taken  to 
guard  against  surprise." 

At  General  Hooker's  headquarters  the  party  was 
provided  with  three  large  hospital  tents  for  their  stay 
of  a  week,  the  tents  were  floored  and  furnished  with 
camp  bedsteads,  the  fresh  crisp  air  was  invigorating, 
the  review  of  the  magnificent  army  was  encouraging, 
and  Tad  was  having  the  time  of  his  life.  On  the  out- 
skirts of  the  cavalry  and  in  charge  of  a  mounted 
orderly,  the  spirited  Tad  rode  with  his  "gray  cloak 
flying  in  the  gusty  wind  like  the  plume  of  Henry  of 
Navarre."  The  President  acknowledged  that  it  was  a 
great  relief  to  get  away  from  Washington  and  the  poli- 
ticians, but  said  sadly,  "nothing  touches  the  tired  spot." 
A  photograph  of  a  Confederate  officer  came  through 
the  lines  while  Mrs.  Lincoln  was  in  camp;  it  was  ad- 
dressed to  General  Averill  who  had  been  a  classmate 
of  the  sender  and  on  the  back  of  the  photograph  was 
written  "A  rebellious  Rebel."  Mrs.  Lincoln  declared 
it  meant  that  the  rebel  officer  was  in  rebellion  against 
the  rebel  government,  but  Mr.  Lincoln  smiled  and  said, 
"It  means  that  rebel  officer  wants  everybody  to  know 
he  is  a  double-dyed-in-the-wool  sort  of  rebel,  a  rebel  of 
rebels." 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  211 

President  Lincoln  particularly  enjoyed  the  jests  of 
the  soldiers.  A  Confederate  soldier  jested  thus  in  a 
Confederate  newspaper: 

"Our  minister  nearly  got  himself  into  a  scrape  the  other 
day  and  whether  he  is  a  bit  of  a  wag  or  a  very  careless 
fellow  or  an  'Abolition  traitor'  is  now  the  subject  of  discus- 
sion with  us.  At  the  meeting  on  Fast  Day  he  gave  out 
Dr.  Watts  hymn  commencing: 

And  are  we  wretches  yet  alive 
And  do  we  yet  rebel 
'Tis  wondrous,  'tis  amazing  grace 
That  we  are  out  of  hell." 

The  President's  family  as  usual  spent  the  summer 
months  at  the  Soldiers'  Home.  There  was  more  fresh 
air,  less  formality,  and  Tad  could  live  on  the  back  of 
his  pony;  but  no  matter  how  she  tried,  Mary  Lincoln 
could  not  ease  that  "tired  spot"  in  her  husband's  heart. 
She  saw  him  with  hollows  under  his  eyes  and  a  grop- 
ing gloomy  look  out  of  them  which  seemed  to  pierce 
far  into  a  tragic  future.  Her  own  eyes  watching  him 
would  grow  misty  with  anxiety,  seeing  which  Mr.  Lin- 
coln would  force  a  cheering  smile  and  pat  the  "little 
woman's"  shoulder.  They  grew  closer  and  more  lov- 
ingly dependent  on  each  other  day  by  day  during  these 
heart-breaking  years.  While  driving  out  to  the  Sol- 
diers'   Home   in  July,    Mrs.    Lincoln   was   violently 


212  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

thrown  from  her  carriage,  and  severely  injured  by  her 
head  striking  a  stone.  The  President  was  greatly 
alarmed  and  watched  over  her  tenderly  and  anxiously 
and  overwhelmed  the  trained  nurse  with  thanks  for 
saving  "Mother's"  life.  He  sent  this  telegram  to  Rob- 
ert, a  student  at  Harvard: 

"Executive  Mansion,  Washington 
July  3,  1863. 
"Robert  T.  Lincoln 
Cambridge,  Mass. 

Don't  be  uneasy  your  mother  very  slightly  hurt  by  her 
fall. 

A  Lincoln." 

In  August  another  shock  came  to  Mary  Lincoln.  In 
a  skirmish  at  Baton  Rouge,  Louisiana,  her  youngest 
brother  lay  silent  in  his  uniform  of  gray.  Surely  it 
couldn't  be  true !  He  was  so  young,  only  a  boy — just 
about  the  age  of  her  own  son  Robert;  in  his  babyhood 
he  had  been  the  darling  of  her  heart,  her  loving,  fiery, 
red-headed  brother!  In  memory  she  felt  his  warm, 
moist  little  hand  clinging  affectionately  to  hers.  The 
romping,  merry,  warm-hearted  little  rascal !  She  could 
hear  his  voice  with  a  slight  lisp,  "See,  Sister  Mary,"  as 
he  tried  to  attract  her  attention  to  the  merits  of  his  new 
puppies  and,  mark  of  the  deepest  love  and  admiration 
in  a  small  boy's  heart,  "I  am  going  to  let  you  take  your 


M 


u  <   ° 
- J  J    <u 

SU.5 


<  M  S 

S  ° 


H    O 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  213 

choice  of  the  lot  of  them,  Sister  Mary."     She  read 
again : 

"At  the  battle  of  Baton  Rouge  Lieutenant  Alexander 
H.  Todd,  aide-de-camp  and  brother-in-law  of  General  Ben 
Hardin  Helm  was  killed.  He  was  only  twenty-three  years 
of  age,  full  of  promise,  of  handsome  appearance  and  win- 
ning manners,  and  idolized  by  his  mother  and  sisters." 

Mary  Lincoln  fell  on  her  knees  and  wept,  "Oh,  little 
Aleck,  why  had  you  too  to  die!"  She  must  still  her 
sobs,  her  tears  must  be  shed  bravely,  in  secret,  there 
must  be  no  suspicion  that  she  grieved  for  a  dead  Con- 
federate soldier — for  her  husband's  sake,  as  well  as  for 
her  own,  she  must  not  risk  the  title  of  traitor — she  must 
control  her  paroxysm  of  grief  and  assume  a  smile.  Her 
husband  would  know  and  understand.  No  gossiping 
tongue  would  tell  an  unsympathetic  world  of  her  sor- 
row for  her  dead  Confederate  brothers.  This  shock 
more  than  her  fall  retarded  Mary  Lincoln's  recovery. 
Mr.  Lincoln  replied  to  a  telegram  which  came  from 
one  of  Mary  Lincoln's  girlhood  friends  and  a  near  rela- 
tive of  her  stepmother: 

"Washington,  D.  C. 

August  21,  1863. 
"Mrs.  Margaret  Preston 
Lexington,  Kentucky. 

Your  dispatch  to  Mrs.  L.  received  yesterday.  She  is  not 
well.    Owing  to  her  early  and  strong  friendship  for  you  I 


214  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

would  gladly  oblige  you,  but  I  cannot  absolutely  do  it.  If 
General  Bogle  and  Hon.  James  Guthrie  one  or  both  in  their 
discretion  see  fit  to  give  you  the  passes,  this  is  my  authority 
to  them  for  doing  so. 

A.  Lincoln." 

Mrs.  Lincoln  and  Tad  went  to  New  York.  Mrs. 
Lincoln  had  recovered  her  health  so  slowly  and  looked 
so  pallid  that  in  September,  before  her  return  to  Wash- 
ington, her  husband  became  very  anxious. 

"War  Department  Washington 
September  21,  1863. 
"Mrs.  A.  Lincoln 
Fifth  Avenue  Hotel, 
New  York. 

The  air  is  so  clear  and  cold  and  apparently  healthy  that  I 
would  be  glad  for  you  to  come.  Nothing  very  particular 
but  I  would  be  glad  to  see  you  and  Tad. 

A.  Lincoln." 

"New  York 
September  21,  1863. 

"Edward  McManus 

Executive  Mansion. 

Go  to  Col.  McCullum  and  ask  him  to  send  the  green  car 

on  to  Philadelphia  for  me  and  make  arrangements  for  a 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  215 

special  car  from  New  York  to  Philadelphia.     Send  me  a 
reply  immediately. 

Mrs.  Lincoln." 

"Executive  Mansion,  Washington 
September  22,  1863. 
"Mrs.  A.  Lincoln 
Fifth  Avenue  Hotel, 
New  York. 

Did  you  receive  my  dispatch  of  yesterday?  Mrs.  Cuth- 
bert  did  not  correctly  understand  me  I  directed  her  to  tell 
you  to  use  your  own  pleasure  whether  to  stay  or  come ;  and 
I  did  not  say  it  is  sickly  and  that  you  should  on  no  account 
come.  So  far  as  I  see  or  know,  it  was  never  healthier  and 
I  really  wish  to  see  you.    Answer  this  on  receipt. 

A.  Lincoln." 

"New  York 
September  22,  1863. 
"A.  Lincoln : 

Your  telegram  received.  Did  you  not  receive  my  reply  ? 
I  have  telegraphed  Col.  McCullum  to  have  the  car  ready 
at  the  earliest  possible  moment.  Have  a  very  bad  cold 
and  am  anxious  to  return  home  as  you  may  suppose.  Taddie 
is  well. 

Mrs.  Lincoln." 

But  before  the  car  was  ready,  she  received  distressing 
news  in  another  telegram : 


2 1 6  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

"War  Department,  Washington 
September  24,  1863. 
"Mrs.  A.  Lincoln 
Fifth  Avenue  Hotel, 
New  York. 

We  now  have  a  tolerable  accurate  summing  up  of  the 
late  battle  between  Rosecrans  and  Bragg.  The  result  is 
that  we  are  worsted  if  at  all  only  in  the  fact  that  we  after 
the  main  fighting  wras  over,  yielded  the  ground,  thus  leaving 
considerable  of  our  artillery  and  wounded  to  fall  into  the 
enemy's  hands  for  which  we  got  nothing  in  turn.  We  lost 
in  general  officers  one  killed  and  three  or  four  wounded — 
all  brigadiers ;  whilst  according  to  rebel  accounts  which  we 
have,  they  lost  six  killed  and  eight  wounded.  Of  the  killed 
one  Major  General  and  five  brigadiers  including  your 
brother-in-law  Helm,  and  of  the  wounded  three  Major 
Generals  and  five  brigadiers.  This  list  may  be  reduced  in 
number  by  correction  of  confusion  in  names.  At  1 1 140  a.m. 
yesterday  General  Rosecrans  telegraphs  from  Chattanooga 
'We  hold  this  point,  and  I  cannot  be  dislodged  except  by 
very  superior  numbers  and  a  great  battle.'  A  dispatch 
leaving  there  after  night  yesterday  says  'No  fight  to-day.' 

A.  Lincoln." 

"I  never  saw  Mr.  Lincoln  more  moved,"  said  Senator 
David  Davis,  "than  when  he  heard  of  the  death  of  his 
young  brother-in-law  Ben  Hardin  Helm,  only  thirty- 
two  years  old,  at  Chickamauga.  I  called  to  see  him 
about  four  o'clock  on  the  22nd  of  September ;  I  found 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  217 

him  in  the  greatest  grief.  'Davis,'  said  he,  'I  feel  as 
David  of  old  did  when  he  was  told  of  the  death  of 
Absalom.'  I  saw  how  grief  stricken  he  was  so  I  closed 
the  door  and  left  him  alone."  (From  the  Washington 
Post) 

Mary  Lincoln  did  rejoice  at  the  Union  victories,  but, 
oh,  what  a  price  to  pay!  Not  even  the  poor  consolation 
of  open  sorrow  for  her  dear  dead !  She  must  hide  from 
prying,  suspicious,  and  unsympathetic  eyes  every  evi- 
dence of  grief  at  the  blotting  out  of  a  Conferedate  sol- 
dier no  matter  how  near  and  dear  to  her,  or  be  branded 
as  a  traitor  to  her  country  and  hang  as  a  millstone 
around  the  neck  of  her  adored  husband.  Grieving  in- 
consolably  over  the  death  of  her  little  son,  she  shed 
many  a  secret  and  bitter  tear  for  her  fine  young 
brothers. 

The  Northerners  had  no  sympathy  for  a  Southern- 
born  woman  whose  brothers  were  in  the  rebel  army. 
They  watched  her  suspiciously  for  a  sign  of  disloyalty. 
She  knew  that  a  single  tear  shed  for  a  dead  enemy 
would  bring  torrents  of  scorn  and  bitter  abuse  on  both 
her  husband  and  herself. 

On  the  other  hand,  the  Southerners  shouted  that  she 
was  hard-hearted,  callous,  indifferent  to  the  sufferings 
of  her  own  people;  so  flinty-hearted  that  she  showed  no 
emotion,  not  even  a  trace  of  feeling  at  the  loss  of  her 


2i 8  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

brothers  and  friends.  Sneered  at,  hated,  buffeted  by 
both  sides,  could  any  position  be  more  brimful  of  an- 
guish? Sometimes,  feeling  that  she  had  not  a  friend 
left  on  earth,  Mary  gallantly  held  her  proud  head  high, 
and  erect,  poised,  and  dignified,  she  hid  her  private 
griefs  and  entertained  at  the  White  House  only  when  it 
seemed  obligatory. 

"It  was  a  remarkable  fact,"  says  Frank  Carpenter, 
"that  she  was  less  hospitable  than  any  previous  mistress 
of  the  White  House.  No  one  could  ascertain  the  rea- 
son why."  To  anyone  knowing  these  facts  and  having 
an  understanding  heart,  the  reason  is  plain  to  see. 


CHAPTER  X 


"send  her  to  me" 


A  LTHOUGH  three  weeks  had  passed  since  the 
■*  **  fierce  battle  of  Chickamauga  on  September  20, 
1863,  Governor  Helm,  of  Kentucky,  had  only  just  re- 
ceived the  news  of  the  death  of  General  Ben  Hardin 
Helm,  his  son  and  Mrs.  Todd's  son-in-law.  The  gover- 
nor wrote  the  following  letter  to  Mrs.  Robert  S.  Todd, 
of  Lexington : 

"Elizabethtown  Ky 
October  11,  1863. 
"Dear  Madam: 

It  is  due  to  you  that  I  announce  the  death  of  my  son. 
He  fell  in  the  battle  south  of  Chattanooga  I  have  unques- 
tionable information.  He  was  buried  at  Atlanta.  It  is 
probable  Emilie  was  there.  Could  you  through  friends  or 
by  your  own  relationship  secure  for  Emilie  a  passport  home. 
If  she  could  be  allowed  to  come  to  Nashville  I  would  go 
after  her,  if  a  pass  would  be  allowed  me.  I  am  totally  at 
a  loss  to  know  how  to  begin.  Could  you  or  one  of  your 
daughters  write  to  Mrs.  Lincoln  and  through  her  secure 


a  pass? 


In  deep  sorrow 
I  am  respectfully, 

John  L.  Helm." 

219 


220  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

Mrs.  Helm,  who  had  been  summoned  from  Selma, 
Alabama,  to  Atlanta,  Georgia,  by  General  Braxton 
Bragg,  C.  S.  A.,  arrived  there  only  in  time  for  the  last 
sad  rites  over  her  soldier  husband.  General  Bragg 
promised  to  appeal  to  General  U.  S.  Grant  for  a  pass- 
port for  Mrs.  Helm  to  return  to  Kentucky,  for  she  was 
longing  for  her  native  State  and  for  the  comforting 
arms  of  her  mother.  After  a  week  in  Atlanta  some 
Kentucky  friends  who  were  living  at  that  time  in  Madi- 
son, Georgia,  urged  Mrs.  Helm  to  come  to  them  until 
the  arrival  of  the  hoped-for  pass  which,  although  she 
did  not  know  it  at  that  time,  General  Grant  had  al- 
ready refused  to  give  her.  In  the  meantime  Mrs.  Todd 
had  secured  passes  from  President  Lincoln  permitting 
her  to  go  South  and  bring  her  daughter  home. 
The  pass  reads : 

"To  Whom  It  May  Concern: 

"It  is  my  wish  that  Mrs.  Emilie  T.  Helm  (Widow  of 
the  late  B.  H.  Helm,  who  fell  in  the  Confederate  service) 
now  returning  to  Kentucky,  may  have  protection  of  person 
and  property  except  as  to  slaves  of  which  I  say  nothing. 

A.  Lincoln.'' 

When  Mrs.  Helm  reached  Fortress  Monroe  she  was 
told  that  she  could  not  proceed  to  Kentucky  without 
taking  the  oath  of  allegiance  to  the  United  States.  Dis- 
tressed, heart-broken  as  she  was  and  fearing  that  she 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  221 

might  be  sent  back  South,  alone  and  almost  penniless, 
she  firmly  refused  to  take  the  oath.  It  was  treason  to 
her  dead  husband,  to  her  beloved  Southland.  The 
Federal  officers  argued  with  her  kindly,  but  in  vain. 
They  could  not  disobey  this  order  even  for  the  sister- 
in-law  of  the  President.  One  of  them,  at  last,  at  his 
wit's  end,  said,  "We  will  have  to  telegraph  the  Presi- 
dent your  decision."  After  a  few  hours  of  anxious 
and  trembling  suspense,  Mrs.  Helm  saw  the  officer  re- 
appear smiling  and  waving  a  telegram  in  his  hand.  She 
took  it  and  read : 

"Send  her  to  me. 

A.  Lincoln." 

Greatly  relieved,  Mrs.  Helm  proceeded  to  Washing- 
ton. Mrs.  Lincoln's  young  sister  Emilie  was  a  pathetic 
little  figure  in  her  trailing  black  crepe.  It  made  Mary 
Lincoln's  heart  ache  and  her  eyes  fill  with  tears  to  think 
of  the  sorrow  that  in  three  years  could  change  the  rosy, 
laughing  Emilie  into  this  sad-faced  girl  with  pallid 
cheeks,  tragic  eyes,  and  tight  unsmiling  lips.  Quoting 
from  Mrs.  Helm's  diary: 

"Mr.  Lincoln  and  my  sister  met  me  with  the  warmest 
affection,  we  were  all  too  grief-stricken  at  first  for 
speech.  I  have  lost  my  husband,  they  have  lost  their 
fine  little  son  Willie  and  Mary  and  I  have  lost  three 


222  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

brothers  in  the  Confederate  service.  We  could  only 
embrace  each  other  in  silence  and  tears.  Sister  and  I 
dined  intimately,  alone.  Our  tears  gathered  silently 
and  fell  unheeded  as  with  choking  voices  we  tried  to 
talk  of  immaterial  things.  We  talked  of  old  friends  in 
Springfield  and  in  Kentucky.  Allusion  to  the  present 
is  like  tearing  open  a  fresh  and  bleeding  wound  and 
the  pain  is  too  great  for  self-control.  And  the  future, 
alas,  the  future  seems  empty,  of  everything  but  despair. 
So  to  gain  anything  like  calmness  we  approach  any  sub- 
ject timidly  and  wonder  if  anything  we  are  about  to  say 
can  give  the  other  pain.  After  dinner  sister  had  the 
East  room  and  the  Green  and  Blue  rooms  lighted  up 
for  me  to  see.  The  Red  room  is  the  usual  drawing 
room  and  contains  the  portrait  of  Washington  which 
Dolly  Madison  cut  out  of  the  frame  to  save  from  the 
British.    Dolly  Madison's  first  husband  was  a  Todd. 

"The  room  I  occupied  had  been  fitted  up  for  the 
visit  of  the  Prince  of  Wales.  The  purple  hangings 
seem  gloomy  and  funereal  though  brightened  with  yel- 
low cords. 

"General  Sickles  called.  He  has  lost  one  leg  and 
goes  on  crutches.  He  seems  on  very  intimate  terms 
here. 

"It  is  quite  cold  although  only  November  and  a  fire 
is  cheerful  and  comfortable. 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  223 

"There  is  an  expedition  to  the  Russian  fleet  and  all 
the  members  of  Congress  have  gone  to  it. 

"Sister  is  doing  everything  to  distract  my  mind  and 
her  own  from  our  terrible  grief,  but  at  times  it  over- 
whelms us;  we  can't  get  away  from  it,  try  as  we  will  to 
be  cheerful  and  accept  fate.  Sister  has  always  a  cheer- 
ful word  and  a  smile  for  Mr.  Lincoln,  who  seems  thin 
and  care-worn  and  seeing  her  sorrowful  would  add  to 
his  care. 

"Driving  out  in  the  state  carriage  to-day,  we  came 
suddenly  on  a  street  car  from  which  some  little  boys 
were  jumping.  Our  driver  was  unable  to  stop  his 
horses  in  time,  and  the  carriage  ran  over  a  little  boy, 
breaking  his  leg.  Sister  Mary,  distressed  and  excited, 
jumped  out  of  the  carriage,  crying,  'Oh,  the  poor  baby! 
Who  is  he,  where  does  he  live?  I  will  take  him  to  his 
mother.'  She  started  to  lift  him  up  in  her  arms,  but  a 
doctor  who  happened  to  be  in  the  crowd  which  had 
quickly  collected,  said,  'No,  Mrs.  Lincoln,  you  had 
better  let  me  handle  him.  I  will  take  him  home.'  So 
we  followed  to  the  child's  home,  Mary  to  tell  the 
mother  how  distressed  she  is  over  the  unavoidable  acci- 
dent and  to  beg  to  be  allowed  to  do  everything  possible 
for  the  little  fellow.  She  at  once  sent  fruit  and  flowers 
and  has  promised  the  little  boy  to  bring  him  some  toys 
to-morrow.    Mary  mothers  all  children. 


224  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

"We  called  again  to-day  on  the  little  invalid  with 
toys,  fruit  and  a  box  of  candy.  He  is  a  brave  little  fel- 
low, his  eyes  glisten  when  he  sees  us  coming  and  he  for- 
gets he  has  a  broken  leg  in  his  pleasure  over  his  toys. 

"Sister  and  I  cannot  open  our  hearts  to  each  other 
as  freely  as  we  would  like.  This  frightful  war  comes 
between  us  like  a  barrier  of  granite  closing  our  lips  but 
not  our  hearts,  for  though  our  tongues  are  tied,  we  weep 
over  our  dead  together  and  express  through  our  clasped 
hands  the  sympathy  we  feel  for  each  other  in  our  mu- 
tual grief. 

"Sister  Mary  and  I  avoid  any  reference  to  the  war 
or  to  any  of  my  experiences  in  the  South  for  fear  of 
hurting  each  other.  Her  fine  tact  and  delicacy  fill  me 
with  admiration.  She  can  so  quickly  turn  a  dangerous 
subject  into  other  channels. 

"We  were  talking  of  mother  to-day  and  Sister  sent 
her  many  messages  of  love  and  sympathy:  'My  heart 
bleeds  for  her,  Emilie,'  said  she,  ca  wound  in  a  mother's 
heart  can  never  heal.  I  pray  God  you  will  never  have 
that  sorrow  to  bear.'  Sister  Mary's  heart  is  particularly 
sore  over  the  death  of  Alec.  He  was  so  young,  so  lov- 
ing, so  impetuous,  our  dear,  red-headed,  baby  brother! 

"Sister  Mary's  tenderness  for  me  is  very  touching. 
She  and  Brother  Lincoln  pet  me  as  if  I  were  a  child, 
and,  without  words,  try  to  comfort  me. 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  225 

"Sister  Mary  was  sitting  in  a  drooping  despondent 
attitude  as  I  came  across  the  room  to  kiss  her  good 
morning;  the  newspaper  she  had  been  reading  dropped 
to  the  floor  as  she  held  her  arms  out  to  me  and  said, 
'Kiss  me,  Emilie,  and  tell  me  that  you  love  me !  I  seem 
to  be  the  scape-goat  for  both  North  and  South!'  Then 
suddenly  as  if  she  had  thrown  off  a  dark  cloak  and  stood 
revealed  in  a  gay  costume,  she  held  her  head  up  and 
smiled.  I  was  marveling  at  the  transformation  but  in- 
stantly understood  the  cause  as  Brother  Lincoln's  voice 
came  to  us,  'I  hope  you  two  are  planning  some  mis- 
chief.' Mischief! — I  am  sure  he  saw  Mary's  despon- 
dency and  heard  what  she  said  to  me  and  that  his  cheer- 
fulness was  forced,  for  later  in  the  day  he  said:  'Little 
Sister,  I  hope  you  can  come  up  and  spend  the  summer 
with  us  at  the  Soldiers'  Home,  you  and  Mary  love  each 
other — it  is  good  for  her  to  have  you  with  her — I  feel 
worried  about  Mary,  her  nerves  have  gone  to  pieces; 
she  cannot  hide  from  me  that  the  strain  she  has  been 
under  has  been  too  much  for  her  mental  as  well  as  her 
physical  health.  What  do  you  think?'  he  asked  me 
anxiously.  I  answered  him  as  I  knew  he  wished  me  to 
do,  candidly.  'She  seems  very  nervous  and  excitable 
and  once  or  twice  when  I  have  come  into  the  room  sud- 
denly the  frightened  look  in  her  eyes  has  appalled  me. 
She  seems  to  fear  that  other  sorrows  may  be  added  to 


226  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

those  we  already  have  to  bear.  I  believe  if  anything 
should  happen  to  you  or  Robert  or  Tad  it  would  kill 
her.'  Brother  Lincoln  said,  as  he  shook  his  head  sor- 
rowfully: 'Stay  with  her  as  long  as  you  can.' 

"Later  in  the  day  Sister  Mary  asked  me,  'Emilie, 
what  do  you  think  of  Mr.  Lincoln,  do  you  think  he  is 
well?'  I  really  think  he  looks  very  ill,  but  I  only  an- 
swered, 'He  seems  thinner  than  I  ever  saw  him.'  'Oh, 
Emilie,  will  we  ever  awake  from  this  hideous  night- 
mare?' she  exclaimed.  I  did  not  answer,  for  it  does  not 
seem  possible  we  ever  can. 

"After  I  had  said  good  night  and  had  gone  to  my 
room  last  night  there  was  a  gentle  knock  at  the  door, 
and  Sister  Mary's  voice,  'Emilie,  may  I  come  in?'  She 
was  smiling  though  her  eyes  were  full  of  tears.  'I  want 
to  tell  you,  Emilie,  that  one  may  not  be  wholly  without 
comfort  when  our  loved  ones  leave  us.  When  my  noble 
little  Willie  was  first  taken  from  me,  I  felt  that  I  had 
fallen  into  a  deep  pit  of  gloom  and  despair  without  a 
ray  of  light  anywhere.  If  I  had  not  felt  the  spur  of 
necessity  urging  me  to  cheer  Mr.  Lincoln,  whose  grief 
was  as  great  as  my  own,  I  could  never  have  smiled 
again,  and  if  Willie  did  not  come  to  comfort  me  I 
would  still  be  drowned  in  tears,  and  while  I  long  inex- 
pressibly to  touch  him,  to  hold  him  in  my  arms,  and 
still  grieve  that  he  has  no  future  in  this  world  that  I 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  227 

might  watch  with  a  proud  mother's  heart — he  lives, 
Emilief  she  said  with  a  thrill  in  her  voice  I  can  never 
forget.  'He  comes  to  me  every  night,  and  stands  at  the 
foot  of  my  bed  with  the  same  sweet,  adorable  smile  he 
has  always  had ;  he  does  not  always  come  alone ;  little 
Eddie  is  sometimes  with  him  and  twice  he  has  come 
with  our  brother  Alec,  he  tells  me  he  loves  his  Uncle 
Alec  and  is  with  him  most  of  the  time.  You  cannot 
dream  of  the  comfort  this  gives  me.  When  I  thought 
of  my  little  son  in  immensity,  alone,  without  his  mother 
to  direct  him,  no  one  to  hold  his  little  hand  in  loving 
guidance,  it  nearly  broke  my  heart.'  Sister  Mary's  eyes 
were  wide  and  shining  and  I  had  a  feeling  of  awe  as  if 
I  were  in  the  presence  of  the  supernatural. 

"It  is  unnatural  and  abnormal,  it  frightens  me.  It 
does  not  seem  like  Sister  Mary  to  be  so  nervous  and 
wrought  up.  She  is  on  a  terrible  strain  and  her  smiles 
seem  forced.  She  is  frightened  about  Robert  going  into 
the  Army.  She  said  to-day  to  Brother  Lincoln  (I  was 
reading  in  another  part  of  the  room  but  could  not  help 
hearing  the  conversation)  :  'Of  course,  Mr.  Lincoln, 
I  know  that  Robert's  plea  to  go  into  the  Army  is  manly 
and  noble  and  I  want  him  to  go,  but  oh !  I  am  so  fright- 
ened he  may  never  come  back  to  us!" 

"Mr.  Lincoln  said  sadly,  'Many  a  poor  mother, 
Mary,  has  had  to  make  this  sacrifice  and  has  given  up 


228  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

every  son  she  had — and  lost  them  all.'  'Don't  I  know 
that  only  too  well?'  cried  Mary;  'before  this  war  is 
ended  I  may  be  like  that  poor  mother,  like  my  poor 
mother  in  Kentucky,  with  not  a  prop  left  in  her  old 
age.'  I  heard  no  more,  for  feeling  the  conversation 
was  not  meant  for  me  to  hear  I  left  the  room. 

"Cousin  John  Stuart  (Hon.  John  T.  Stuart,  of 
Springfield,  Illinois)  is  here.  In  his  manner  of  greet- 
ing me  he  could  not  have  been  more  deferential  and 
courtly  if  he  had  been  bending  over  the  royal  hand  of 
Queen  Victoria.  In  his  avoidance  of  any  reference  to 
my  bereavement  he  shows  his  gentle  kindness.  I  have 
always  loved  and  admired  him — more  than  ever  now 
since  the  episode  of  last  night  when  I  was  conscious  his 
gentle  sympathetic  eyes  were  urging  me  to  be  patient. 

"Seeing  some  cards  being  handed  to  Sister  Mary  and 
hearing  the  callers  were  to  be  received  in  the  room 
where  we  were  sitting,  I  excused  myself  and  slipped 
out.  In  a  few  minutes  Sister  Mary  sent  for  me  to  come 
and  see  some  friend  who  wished  especially  to  see  me 
that  he  might  inquire  about  some  mutual  friend  in  the 
South.  I  went  most  reluctantly.  It  is  painful  to  see 
friends  and  I  do  not  feel  like  meeting  strangers.  I 
cannot  bear  their  inquiring  look  at  my  deep  crepe.  It 
was  General  Sickles  again,  calling  with  Senator  Har- 
ris.   General  Sickles  said,  'I  told  Senator  Harris  that 


Ben  Hardin  Helm 

Cadet  at  West  Point,  graduate  of  class  of   185] 
Emilie  Todd 


Married 


Mary  Todd's  Sister  Elodie,  Who  Married  Colonel  N.  H.  R.  Dawson  of 

Selma,  Alabama 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  229 

you  were  at  the  White  House,  just  from  the  South  and 
could  probably  give  him  some  news  of  his  old  friend 
General  John  C.  Breckinridge.'  I  told  Senator  Harris 
that  as  I  had  not  seen  General  Breckinridge  for  some 
time  I  could  give  him  no  news  of  the  general's  health. 
He  then  asked  me  several  pointed  questions  about  the 
South  and  as  politely  as  I  could  I  gave  him  non-com- 
mittal answers.  Senator  Harris  said  to  me  in  a  voice 
of  triumph,  'Well,  we  have  whipped  the  rebels  at  Chat- 
tanooga and  I  hear,  madam,  that  the  scoundrels  ran 
like  scared  rabbits.'  'It  was  the  example,  Senator 
Harris,  that  you  set  them  at  Bull  Run  and  Manassas,' 
I  answered  with  a  choking  throat.  I  was  very  nervous 
and  I  could  see  that  Sister  Mary  was  annoyed.  She 
tactfully  tried  to  change  the  subject,  whereupon  Sena- 
tor Harris  turned  to  her  abruptly  and  with  an  unsmil- 
ing face  asked  sternly:  Why  isn't  Robert  in  the  Army? 
He  is  old  enough  and  strong  enough  to  serve  his  coun- 
try. He  should  have  gone  to  the  front  some  time  ago.' 
"Sister  Mary's  face  turned  white  as  death  and  I  saw 
that  she  was  making  a  desperate  effort  at  self-control. 
She  bit  her  lip,  but  answered  quietly,  'Robert  is  making 
his  preparations  now  to  enter  the  Army,  Senator  Har- 
ris; he  is  not  a  shirker  as  you  seem  to  imply  for  he 
has  been  anxious  to  go  for  a  long  time.  If  fault  there 
be,  it  is  mine,  I  have  insisted  that  he  should  stay  in 


230  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

college  a  little  longer  as  I  think  an  educated  man 
can  serve  his  country  with  more  intelligent  purpose 
than  an  ignoramus.'  General  Harris  rose  and  said 
harshly  and  pointedly  to  Sister,  'I  have  only  one  son 
and  he  is  fighting  for  his  country.'  Turning  to  me  and 
making  a  low  bow,  'And,  Madam,  if  I  had  twenty  sons 
they  should  all  be  fighting  the  rebels.'  'And  if  I  had 
twenty  sons,  General  Harris,'  I  replied,  'they  should 
all  be  opposing  yours.'  I  forgot  where  I  was,  I  forgot 
that  I  was  a  guest  of  the  President  and  Mrs.  Lincoln  at 
the  White  House.  I  was  cold  and  trembling.  I  stum- 
bled out  of  the  room  somehow,  for  I  was  blinded  by 
tears  and  my  heart  was  beating  to  suffocation.  Before 
I  reached  the  privacy  of  my  room  where  unobserved  I 
could  give  way  to  my  grief,  Sister  Mary  overtook  me 
and  put  her  arms  around  me.  I  felt  somehow  com- 
forted to  weep  on  her  shoulder — her  own  tears  were 
falling  but  she  said  no  word  of  the  occurrence  and  I 
understood  that  she  was  powerless  to  protect  a  guest  in 
the  White  House  from  cruel  rudeness. 

"Cousin  John  Stuart  told  me  that  after  I  left  the 
room  and  General  Sickles  and  Senator  Harris,  on  their 
way  out,  had  reached  the  portico  of  the  White  House, 
that  General  Sickles  had  painfully  stumped  up  the 
stairs  again  and  declared  he  must  see  the  President, 
who  had  not  been  feeling  well  and  was  in  his  own  room 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  231 

lying  down.  When  the  President  came  in  General 
Sickles  solemnly  related  the  conversation  between 
General  Harris  and  myself,  the  President's  eyes  twin- 
kled and  he  looked  at  Cousin  John  and  chuckled,  'The 
child  has  a  tongue  like  the  rest  of  the  Todds.' 

"This  seemed  to  anger  General  Sickles  and  he  said  in 
a  loud,  dictatorial  voice,  slapping  the  table  with  his 
hand,  'You  should  not  have  that  rebel  in  your  house.' 

Mr.  Lincoln  instantly  drew  himself  up  and  said 
in  a  quiet,  dignified  voice,  'Excuse  me,  General  Sickles, 
my  wife  and  I  are  in  the  habit  of  choosing  our  own 
guests.  We  do  not  need  from  our  friends  either  advice 
or  assistance  in  the  matter.  Besides,'  he  added,  'the 
little  "rebel"  came  because  I  ordered  her  to  come,  it 
was  not  of  her  own  volition.' 

"This  is  the  only  time  a  word  of  the  war  has  been 
spoken — in  my  presence  or  to  me — since  I  have  been  in 
the  White  House;  it  is  most  considerate.  Although 
Brother  Lincoln  and  Sister  Mary  have  urged  me  to 
stay  longer,  I  feel  that  my  being  here  is  more  or  less  an 
embarrassment  to  all  of  us  and  I  am  longing  for  Ken- 
tucky and  Mother.  They  have  both  (Mary  and  Mr. 
Lincoln)  invited  me  to  make  them  a  long  visit  next 
summer  at  the  Soldiers'  Home.  It  is  kind  of  them — 
but  it  will  not  be  possible. 

"I  had  my  little  daughter  with  me.    Tad,  who  was 


232  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

five  or  six  years  older,  was  playing  host  and  entertain- 
ing her  with  photographs,  both  seated  on  the  rug  be- 
fore the  fire.  He  showed  her  a  photograph  of  himself 
with  great  pride  and  then  picking  up  one  of  his  father, 
said,  This  is  the  President.'  My  little  daughter 
looked  at  it,  shook  her  head  and  said  very  emphati- 
cally, 'No,  that  is  not  the  President,  Mr.  Davis  is  Presi- 
dent.' Tad,  to  make  his  statement  more  emphatic, 
shouted,  'Hurrah  for  Abe  Lincoln.'  My  little  daugh- 
ter defiantly  replied,  'Hurrah  for  Jeff  Davis.'  Mr. 
Lincoln  listened  with  an  amused  smile  to  the  heated 
argument  and  when  finally  appealed  to  by  Tad,  he 
said,  'Well,  Tad,  you  know  who  is  your  President,  and 
I  am  your  little  cousin's  Uncle  Lincoln.'  So,  taking 
one  on  each  knee,  he  pacified  the  tense  and  glaring 
little  belligerents. 

"I  was  at  the  White  House  nearly  a  week.  As  Mr. 
Lincoln  handed  me  the  safeguard,  the  paper  protecting 
me  from  molestation  except  as  to  slaves,  he  looked  at 
me  earnestly  and  said  gravely,  'Little  Sister,  I  never 
knew  you  to  do  a  mean  thing  in  your  life.  I  know  you 
will  not  embarrass  me  in  any  way  on  your  return  to 
Kentucky.'  Nothing  was  said  to  me  then  or  after- 
wards about  taking  the  oath  of  allegiance.  Brother 
Lincoln  knew,  that,  while  under  the  circumstances  this 
for  me  would  be  impossible,  he  could  trust  my  honor 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  233 

to  do  nothing  to  make  him  regret  his  loving  kindness 
and  consideration  for  me.  They  were,  both  Sister 
Mary  and  Mr.  Lincoln,  careful  not  to  allude  to  politics 
or  to  the  South,  or  in  any  way  to  hurt  me  or  make  it 
difficult  for  me. 

"Mr.  Lincoln  in  the  intimate  talks  we  had  was  very 
much  affected  over  the  misfortunes  of  our  family;  and 
of  my  husband  he  said,  'You  know,  Little  Sister,  I 
tried  to  have  Ben  come  with  me.  I  hope  you  do  not 
feel  any  bitterness  or  that  I  am  in  any  way  to  blame 
for  all  this  sorrow.'  I  answered  it  was  'the  fortune  of 
war'  and  that  while  my  husband  loved  him  and  had 
been  deeply  grateful  to  him  for  his  generous  offer 
to  make  him  an  officer  in  the  Federal  Army,  he  had  to 
follow  his  conscience  and  that  for  weal  or  woe  he  felt 
he  must  side  with  his  own  people.  Mr.  Lincoln  put 
his  arms  around  me  and  we  both  wept." 


CHAPTER   XI 


THE    DEATH    BLOW 


"New  York 
December  4,  1863. 
" Abraham  Lincoln 
President  United  States. 

Reached  here  last  evening.  Very  tired  and  severe  head- 
ache. Hope  to  hear  you  are  doing  well.  Expect  a  tele- 
graph to-day. 

Mrs.  Lincoln." 


"Executive  Mansion,  Washington 
December  5,  1863. 


"Mrs.  A.  Lincoln 
Metropolitan  Hotel, 
New  York. 
All  doing  well. 


A.  Lincoln.' 


"New  York, 
December  6,  1863. 
"A.  Lincoln 

Do  let  me  know  immediately  how  Taddie  and  yourself 
are.  I  will  be  home  by  Tuesday  without  fail;  sooner  if 
needed. 

Mrs.  Lincoln." 


Not  receiving  a  prompt  reply  although  a  telegram 

234 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  235 

had  been  sent  "All  doing  well,"  Mrs.  Lincoln  anxiously 
sent  another  telegram  the  same  day. 

"New  York 
December  6,  1863. 
"Edward  McManus 
Executive  Mansion 

Let  me  know  immediately  exactly  how  Mr.  Lincoln  and 
Taddie  are. 

Mrs.  Lincoln 

Metropolitan  Hotel." 

"Executive  Mansion,  Washington 
December  7,  1863. 
"Mrs.  A.  Lincoln 
Metropolitan  Hotel, 
New  York. 

All  doing  well  Tad  confidently  expects  you  to-night  when 
will  you  come  ? 

A.  Lincoln." 


"New  York 
December  7,   1863. 

"A.  Lincoln 

Will  leave  here  positively  at  8  a.  m.  Tuesday  morning. 

Have  carriage  waiting  at  depot  in  Washington  at  6  p.  m. 

Did  Tad  receive  his  book.    Please  answer. 

Mrs.  Lincoln." 


236  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

"Executive  Mansion,  Washington 
December  7,  1863. 
"Mrs.  A.  Lincoln 
Metropolitan  Hotel, 
New  York. 

Tad  has  received  his  book.  The  carriage  shall  be  ready 
at  6  p.  m.  tomorrow. 

A.  Lincoln." 

In  the  early  months  of  1864,  while  some  politicians 
were  in  favor  of  a  more  radical  man,  there  grew  a 
popular  demand  for  the  renomination  of  President 
Lincoln,  which  by  the  time  of  the  convention  was  so 
universal  as  to  overwhelm  all  opposition.  The  pros- 
pect of  the  preservation  of  the  Union  brought  to  Lin- 
coln's heart  the  hope  that  kindness  in  reconstruction 
would  weld  the  two  sections  together  again  in  broth- 
erly love.  This  hope  may  have  reconciled  him  to  con- 
tinuing the  great  burden  of  his  high  office,  of  which 
he  had  said :  "If  to  be  the  head  of  Hell  is  as  hard  as 
what  I  have  to  undergo  here  I  could  find  it  in  my  heart 
to  pity  Satan  himself." 

The  souls  of  President  and  Mrs.  Lincoln  at  the 
pinnacle  of  their  ambition  were  filled  with  weariness. 
Mr.  Carpenter,  the  artist,  seeing  the  tired  droop  of 
the  President,  suggested  that  he  was  working  too  hard, 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  237 

and  Lincoln  replied,  "I  can't  work  less — but  it  is  not 
that — work  never  troubled  me.  Things  look  bad  and 
I  can't  avoid  anxiety.  Personally  I  care  nothing  about 
a  reelection;  but  if  our  divisions  defeat  us  I  fear  for 
the  country."  When  Carpenter  suggested  that  right 
must  eventually  triumph,  that  he  had  never  despaired 
of  the  result,  Mr.  Lincoln  said  sadly,  "Neither  have  I, 
but  I  may  never  live  to  see  it.  I  feel  a  presentiment 
that  I  shall  not  outlast  the  Rebellion.  When  it  is  over, 
my  work  will  be  done." 

Mary  Lincoln  saw  with  deep  solicitude  his  dear  face 
grow  pinched  and  more  and  more  furrowed  with 
sharply  cut  lines  of  care,  and  the  deep-set  gray  eyes 
sink  to  hollows  of  sadness.  Responsibility,  care, 
anxiety,  the  disasters  of  the  army,  the  injustice  and  dis- 
affection of  the  friends  he  had  trusted,  were  wearing 
away  his  nerves  of  steel.  His  giant  frame  was  almost 
emaciated,  and  he  seemed  to  stoop  with  weariness ;  the 
ready,  spontaneous  laugh  of  earlier  days  was  seldom 
heard  and  his  infrequent  smiles  did  not  seem  to  come 
from  his  heart.  He  said  one  day,  "I  feel  as  though  I 
shall  never  be  glad  any  more."  His  wife  made  any 
excuse  to  draw  him  away  from  his  labors — she  needed 
a  drive,  wouldn't  he  go  with  her? — or  a  plea  which 
never  failed,  wouldn't  he  accompany  her  to  some  hos- 


238  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

pital  to  cheer  the  sick  soldiers?  Mrs.  Lincoln  was  so 
constant  in  her  visits  to  the  hospitals,  so  gentle  in  her 
efforts  to  minister  to  and  cheer  the  sick  soldiers,  that 
she  was  derisively  styled  by  the  Southern  papers  "The 
Yankee  nurse."  Secretary  Seward,  Senator  Sumner, 
and  other  friends  aided  her  in  her  efforts  to  divert  the 
President's  mind  from  the  pressure  of  his  arduous 
duties,  and  he  often  rode  or  walked  with  them  but 
returned  to  the  White  House  to  the  same  old  routine 
of  business — answering  telegrams,  making  momentous 
decisions. 

Although  General  Grant  had  relieved  the  President 
of  much  of  his  anxious  responsibility  in  the  conduct  of 
the  war,  and  there  was  every  reason  to  think  the  strug- 
gle would  soon  be  over,  there  loomed  the  difficult 
problem  of  reconstruction.  His  political  anxieties,  too, 
were  greater  than  they  had  been  since  the  beginning 
of  the  war. 

No  matter  what  misfortune  overtook  them,  Mary 
and  her  husband  were  sure  of  their  love  and  loyalty 
for  each  other  which  had  never  flagged  since  Mr. 
Lincoln  had  placed  on  Mary's  finger  the  ring  which 
bore  on  its  inner  circle,  "Love  is  eternal.',  They  made 
pathetic  efforts  to  cheer  each  other,  and  Tad  must  have 
no  share  in  war-time  gloom. 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  239 

"New  York  City 
April  28,  1864. 
"Hon.  A.  Lincoln 
President  United  States. 

We  reached  here  in  safety.  Hope  you  are  well.  Please 
send  me  by  mail  to-day  a  check  for  $50  directed  to  me, 
care  Mr.  Warren  Leland,  Metropolitan  Hotel,  Tad  says 
are  the  goats  well. 

Mrs.  Lincoln." 

"Executive  Mansion,  Washington 
April  28,  1864. 
"Mrs.  A.  Lincoln 
Metropolitan  Hotel, 
New  York. 

The  draft  will  go  to  you.  Tell  Tad  the  goats  and  father 
are  very  well — especially  the  goats. 

A.  Lincoln." 

When  away  from  each  other  the  telegrams  went  over 
the  wires  sometimes  twice  a  day. 

The  Union  Convention  met  in  June,  and  President 
Lincoln  received  the  news  of  his  renomination  without 
elation.  To  the  delegation  which  came  to  congratulate 
him,  he  said,  "I  do  not  allow  myself  to  suppose  that 
either  the  convention  or  the  League  have  concluded 
to  decide  that  I  am  either  the  greatest  or  the  best  man 
in  America,  but  rather  they  have  concluded  it  is  not 
best  to  swap  horses  while  crossing  the  river  *  *  *." 


240  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

"Executive  Mansion,  Washington 
June  24,  1864. 
"Mrs.  A.  Lincoln 
Boston,  Mass. 

All  well  and  very  warm.    Tad  and  I  have  been  to  General 
Grant's  Army.     Returned  yesterday  safe  and  sound. 

A.  Lincoln." 

"War  Department,  Washington 
August  31,  1864. 
"Mrs.  A.  Lincoln 
Manchester,  Vermont. 

All  reasonably  well.    Bob  is  not  here  yet.    How  is  dear 
Tad? 

A.  Lincoln." 

In  July  and  August  Washington  was  passing 
through  its  deepest  days  of  gloom.  No  joyful  tiding 
from  General  Grant  cheered  the  hearts  of  the  Union- 
ists who  had  so  lately  shouted  that  victory  was  close 
at  hand,  and  politics  were  in  a  very  chaotic  state.  The 
President  wrote  the  following  memorandum  dated  Au- 
gust 23,  1864.  "This  morning  as  for  some  days  past 
it  seems  exceedingly  probable  that  this  administration 
will  not  be  reelected.  Then  it  will  be  my  duty  to  so 
cooperate  with  the  President  elect  as  to  save  the  Union 
between  the  election  and  the  inauguration  *  *  *." 

Mrs.  Lincoln  was  not  well  and  Washington  was  un- 
bearably warm. 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  241 

"War  Department,  Washington 
September  8,  1864. 
"Mrs.  A.  Lincoln 
Manchester,  Vermont. 

All  well  including  Tad's  pony  and  the  goats.  Mrs. 
Colonel  Demmick  died  night  before  last.  Bob  left  Sunday 
afternoon  said  he  did  not  know  whether  he  should  see  you. 

A.  Lincoln." 

Both  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Lincoln  were  fatalists.  In  the 
case  of  threats  of  his  assassination,  the  President  was 
passive,  accepting,  but  never  taking  of  his  own  accord, 
measures  to  prevent  what  he  considered  might  be  a 
preordained  destiny.  Mary  would  fight  fate  to  the 
last  gasp;  though  nervous  and  frightened,  she  would 
be  happier  to  die  fighting.  That  she  felt  the  menace 
of  death  hanging  over  the  President's  head  and  had  a 
constant  fear  of  attack,  the  following  will  show. 

Mrs.  Mary  B.  Clay,  a  daughter  of  Cassius  M.  Clay, 
minister  to  the  court  of  Russia,  relates  in  the  Lexing- 
ton, Kentucky,  Herald  an  incident  which  happened  in 
the  winter  of  1865: 

"Our  Uncle  Brutus  J.  Clay  invited  my  sister  and 
myself  to  visit  him  in  Washington,  he  being  Congress- 
man at  that  time.  Mrs.  Ninian  Edwards  (born  Eliza- 
beth Todd)  and  Mrs.  Lincoln  (born  Mary  Todd) 
were  intimate  childhood  friends  of  my  mother,  Mary 


242  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

Jane  Warfield  Clay,  Elizabeth  Todd  being  one  of  her 
bridesmaids,  so  that  when  we  arrived  in  Washington 
we  sent  our  cards  to  Mrs.  Lincoln  who  soon  sent  her 
carriage  for  us  to  come  to  see  her.  The  Lady  of  the 
White  House  at  that  time  made  no  calls  upon  anyone, 
but  took  her  friends  driving,  invited  them  to  see  her 
or  to  go  with  her  to  the  theater,  concerts,  etc.  Mrs. 
Lincoln  invited  us  to  go  with  her  to  Ford's  Theatre 
one  night,  sending  the  carriage  to  take  us  to  the  White 
House  thence  to  the  theater.  President  and  Mrs.  Lin- 
coln, my  sister  and  myself  occupied  one  carriage.  Mr. 
Nicolay  and  John  Hay  went  in  another  with  a  guard 
of  eight  men,  I  believe  on  horseback,  which  had  been 
voted  by  Congress  to  escort  and  guard  Mr.  Lincoln. 

"As  we  drove  along,  the  carriage  being  swung  very 
low,  an  iron  hoop  was  caught  under  it  and  pierced 
through  the  seat,  coming  through  between  Mr.  and 
Mrs.  Lincoln  who  occupied  the  back  seat.  Mrs.  Lin- 
coln was  very  much  alarmed  and  feared  an  attack  was 
being  made.  The  hoop  was  removed  and  we  pro- 
ceeded on  our  way.  I  said  to  Mr.  Lincoln,  'What  do 
you  think  of  this  guard  as  a  protection?'  'Not  much/ 
he  said,  'for  I  believe  when  my  time  comes  there  is 
nothing  that  can  prevent  my  going,  but  the  people  will 
have  it.'  When  we  stopped  at  the  theater  the  pave- 
ment about  the  door  was  packed  with  people.    The 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  243 

guard  made  a  way  for  us  into  the  theater  and  I  thought 
as  we  passed  that  an  assassin  might  easily  kill  the  Presi- 
dent in  that  crowd  and  escape  detection. 

"In  the  theater  President  and  Mrs.  Lincoln,  Miss 
Sallie  Clay  and  I,  Mr.  Nicolay  and  Mr.  Hay,  occupied 
the  same  box  which  the  year  after  saw  Mr.  Lincoln 
slain  by  Booth.  I  do  not  recall  the  play,  but  Wilkes 
Booth  played  the  part  of  villain.  The  box  was  right 
on  the  stage,  with  a  railing  around  it.  Mr.  Lincoln  sat 
next  to  the  rail,  I  next  to  Mrs.  Lincoln,  Miss  Sallie 
Clay  and  the  other  gentlemen  farther  around.  Twice 
Booth  in  uttering  disagreeable  threats  in  the  play  came 
very  near  and  put  his  finger  close  to  Mr.  Lincoln's 
face;  when  he  came  a  third  time  I  was  impressed  by 
it,  and  said,  'Mr.  Lincoln,  he  looks  as  if  he  meant  that 
for  you.'  'Well,'  he  said,  'he  does  look  pretty  sharp 
at  me,  doesn't  he?'  At  the  same  theater,  the  next  April, 
Wilkes  Booth  shot  our  dear  President.  Mr.  Lincoln 
looked  to  me  the  personification  of  honesty,  and  when 
animated  was  much  better  looking  than  his  pictures 
represent  him. 

"Mrs.  Lincoln  was  a  very  proud  woman,  and  the 
wives  of  the  senators  and  committees  who  visited  Mrs. 
Lincoln  on  her  arrival  to  induct  her  into  the  formali- 
ties of  the  White  House  made  a  mistake  in  the  woman 
they  were  to  meet  in  Mr.  Lincoln's  wife.    All  her  life 


244  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

accustomed  to  the  best  society,  she  resented  that  any 
one  should  suppose  that  she  would  not  know  how  to 
conduct  herself  as  the  wife  of  the  President;  she  re- 
sented their  mistaken  kindness,  made  enemies  of  them, 
and  never  recovered  their  friendship. 

"Mrs.  Senator  Zack  Chandler,  who  was  one  of  these 
mistaken  ones,  told  me  the  trouble  was,  they  took  for 
granted  that  Lincoln  had  married  a  woman  in  what 
they  supposed  would  be  his  position  in  life,  and  with- 
out waiting  to  see  and  know  Mrs.  Lincoln  and  then 
give  her  advice  if  she  needed  it,  they  made  that  fatal 
step — a  most  unfortunate  one ;  and  it  was  I  think,  the 
origin  of  the  unpopularity  of  Mrs.  Lincoln." 

March  4,  1865,  the  day  of  Lincoln's  second  inaugu- 
ration, was  a  somber,  cloudy,  drizzly  day  as  gloomy 
as  the  day  of  his  second  election  in  November.  In 
spite  of  the  mud  under  foot,  ladies  in  fine  apparel  were 
to  be  seen  in  large  numbers  in  the  crowds  which 
thronged  the  streets  leading  to  the  Capitol. 

Poor  Andrew  Johnson,  Vice  President  elect,  with  a 
red  face,  arm  in  arm  with  Hannibal  Hamlin,  was  no- 
ticeably tipsy  and  during  his  long  and  incoherent 
harangue  President  Lincoln  sat  patiently  listening. 
Mary  Lincoln,  who  had  been  escorted  to  the  inaugural 
ceremonies  by  Senator  Harlan,  sat  in  the  diplomatic 
gallery.    She  shared  all  the  sensations  which  affected 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  245 

the  audience  of  that  embarrassing  occasion ;  like  Staun- 
ton, she  was  petrified — then  blushed  with  shame  for 
him  as  did  Senator  Henry  Wilson;  Senator  Sumner's 
face  wore  a  sarcastic  smile,  and  Judge  Nelson  of  the 
Supreme  Bench  was  plainly  horrified. 

This  painful  scene  finally  over,  the  procession 
formed  for  the  inauguration  platform.  President  Lin- 
coln, tall  and  gaunt,  his  rugged  features  earnest  and 
sad,  rose  to  deliver  his  inaugural  address.  Mary 
Lincoln's  heart  thrilled  with  pride.  She  exultantly 
acquiesced  in  the  closing  words — so  touching  and 
memorable : 

"With  malice  towards  none,  with  charity  for  all, 
with  firmness  in  the  right  as  God  gives  us  to  see  the 
right,  let  us  strive  to  finish  the  work  we  are  in,  to  bind 
up  the  nation's  wounds,  to  care  for  him  who  shall  have 
borne  the  battle  and  for  his  widow,  and  his  orphans — 
to  do  all  which  may  achieve  and  cherish  a  just  and 
lasting  peace  among  ourselves  and  with  all  nations." 

When  Mary  returned  to  the  White  House  after  the 
inauguration  ceremonies  were  over,  she  was  calmer 
and  less  expectant  of  the  lurking  death  she  feared 
might  be  lying  in  wait  for  her  husband,  than  she  had 
been  since  the  morning  they  left  Springfield.  In  the 
retrospect,  how  peaceful  and  happy  was  that  modest 


246  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

home  on  the  corner  of  Eighth  and  Jackson  Streets — 
that  small  white  house  with  its  green  shutters!  Did  she 
wish  she  had  never  left  it?  She,  as  well  as  her  hus- 
band, had  a  "tired  spot"  that  could  not  be  rested,  but 
now  they  were  buoyed  up  by  the  hope  that  in  another 
four  years  they  with  their  two  sons  could  settle  down 
to  a  quiet,  carefree,  domestic  life.  Of  course,  Mr.  Lin- 
coln was  proud,  and  so  was  Mary,  that  the  people  had 
selected  him  again  as  their  Chief  Magistrate. 

With  a  smiling  face  hiding  her  private  griefs  from 
the  public  and  assuming  a  cheerfulness  she  could  not 
feel,  to  comfort  her  husband,  Mary  Lincoln  planned 
with  him  what  to  do  with  life  when  they  left  Washing- 
ton. Travel  first;  in  seeing  foreign  countries  they 
could  forget  for  a  time  their  sorrows  and  the  terrible 
excitement  of  the  war;  then  a  quiet,  peaceful  home  in 
Springfield  where  they  could  end  their  days  among 
loving  friends. 

The  President,  urged  by  his  wife  and  friends,  de- 
cided to  take  a  much-needed  holiday,  the  first  he  had 
taken  since  he  entered  the  White  House  in  1861.  He 
went  to  City  Point  to  the  headquarters  of  General 
Grant,  accompanied  by  a  party  of  friends  among  whom 
were  Senator  James  Harlan  and  his  wife  and  their 
young  daughter  Mary  (who  a  few  years  later  became 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  247 

the  wife  of  Robert  Todd  Lincoln),  Senator  Sumner, 
the  Marquis  de  Chambrun,  and  a  number  of  others, 
and  before  going  notified  Robert,  who  had  graduated 
from  Harvard  and  was  a  volunteer  officer  on  General 
Grant's  staff. 

"War  Department,  Washington 
March  21,  1865. 
"Capt.  Robert  T.  Lincoln 
City  Point,  Va. 

We  now  think  of  starting  to  you  about  1  p.  m.  Thursday. 
Don't  make  public. 

A.  Lincoln." 

This  was  the  last  visit  that  the  President,  Mrs.  Lin- 
coln, and  Tad  paid  to  the  Army  of  the  Potomac.  A 
week  later  the  President  telegraphed  the  Secretary  of 
War:  "I  begin  to  feel  that  I  ought  to  be  at  home." 
And  Mr.  Stanton  replied,  "I  hope  you  will  stay  to 
see  it  out  for  a  few  days  at  least."  They  were  still  in 
Virginia  on  the  first  day  of  April. 

uCity  Point,  Virginia 
April  1,  1865,  1  p.  m. 
"Hon.  Edwin  M.  Stanton 
Secretary  of  War. 

Mrs.  Lincoln  has  started  home,  and  I  will  thank  you  to 
see  that  our  coachman  is  at  the  Arsenal  Wharf  at  8  o'clock 
to-morrow  morning,  there  to  wait  until  she  arrives. 

A.  Lincoln." 


248  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

"War  Department,  Washington 
April  2,  1865,  11  a.  m. 

"The  President 

City  Point. 

Mrs.    Lincoln    arrived  safely   this   morning.      General 

Augurs  headquarters  were  burned  up  last  night.    Whether 

the  fire  was  caused  by  negligence  or  design  is  unknown. 

I  congratulate  you  and  General  Grant  upon  the  prospect  of 

great  success.    Every  one  is  eager  for  news. 

Edwin  M.  Stanton,  Secretary  of  War." 

"City  Point,  Va. 

April  2,  1865,  8:30  a.  m. 
"Mrs.  A.  Lincoln 
Executive  Mansion. 

Last  night  General  Grant  telegraphed  that  General 
Sheridan  with  his  cavalry  and  the  Fifth  Corps  had  captured 
three  brigades  of  infantry,  a  train  of  wagons  and  several 
batteries,  prisoners  amounting  to  several  thousand.  This 
morning  General  Grant  having  ordered  an  attack  along 
the  whole  line  telegraphs  as  follows  .  .  .  Robert  yester- 
day wrote  a  little  cheerful  note  to  Captain  Penrose  which 
is  all  he  has  heard  of  him  since  you  left. 

A.  Lincoln." 

Mrs.  Lincoln  left  Tad  with  his  father,  and  the  Presi- 
dent took  the  excited  little  fellow  with  him  to  Peters- 
burg and  Richmond. 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  249 

"City  Point,  Va. 

April  2,  1865. 
"Mrs.  Lincoln. 

At  4:30  p.  m.  to-day  General  Grant  telegraphs  me  that 
he  has  Petersburg  completely  enveloped  from  river  below 
to  river  above  and  has  captured  since  he  started  last  Wed- 
nesday about  12,000  prisoners  and  50  guns.  He  suggests 
that  I  shall  go  out  and  see  him  in  the  morning,  which  I 
think  I  will  do.  Tad  and  I  are  both  well,  and  will  be  glad 
to  see  you  and  your  party  here  at  the  time  you  name. 

A.  Lincoln." 

Mrs.  Lincoln,  while  she  was  at  City  Point,  was  driv- 
ing one  day  in  April  with  her  husband  along  the  banks 
of  the  James  River.  They  came  to  a  country  grave- 
yard; the  trees  surrounding  it  were  just  waking  from 
their  winter  nap  and  were  clothing  themselves  in  ten- 
der green.  Within  the  enclosure,  the  shrubs  planted 
by  loving  hands  were  bursting  into  masses  of  pink  and 
white  blossoms  as  if  to  say  exultantly,  There  is  no 
death!  this  is  only  a  quiet  place  to  rest  and  sleep! — and 
the  James  River  seemed  to  be  murmuring  a  soothing 
lullaby.  Mr.  Lincoln  ordered  the  carriage  to  stop,  he 
and  his  wife  walked  through  the  quiet,  peaceful  spot, 
and  Mr.  Lincoln  seemed  impressed  with  its  restfulness. 
"Mary,"  he  said,  "you  are  younger  than  I.  You  will 
survive  me.  When  I  am  gone,  lay  my  remains  in  some 
quiet  place  like  this." 


250  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

The  latter  part  of  March,  1865,  Mrs.  Ben  Hardin 
Helm  and  her  friend  Mrs.  Pratt  obtained  passes  to  go 
to  Richmond  to  see  about  some  bales  of  cotton  in  which 
they  had  invested  and  which  they  feared  might  be  lost. 
On  Mrs.  Helm's  arrival  at  Richmond  General  Sin- 
gleton, a  peace  commissioner,  advised  her  to  return 
immediately  on  the  next  flag  of  truce  boat  as  the  fall 
of  Richmond  was  imminent. 

General  Ord  assigned  Captain  Robert  Lincoln  to 
escort  two  ladies  (he  did  not  say  who  they  were)  from 
Fortress  Monroe  as  far  as  the  flag  of  truce  boat  could 
proceed,  which  was  near  Petersburg.  As  a  dapper 
young  captain  came  on  board,  Mrs.  Helm  heard  an 
astonished  exclamation,  "Well,  if  it  isn't  my  Aunt 
Emilie!"  Simultaneously  she  exclaimed,  "Robert! 
Oh,  how  glad  I  am  to  see  you!"  Mrs.  Helm  was  wor- 
ried at  the  account  Robert  gave  her  of  her  sister's 
health.  "I  think  mother  has  never  quite  recovered 
from  the  effects  of  her  fall,"  he  told  his  aunt.  "It  is 
really  astonishing  what  a  brave  front  she  manages  to 
keep  when  we  know  she  is  suffering — most  women 
would  be  in  bed  groaning,  but  not  mother!  She  just 
straightens  herself  up  a  little  more  and  says,  'It  is  bet- 
ter to  laugh  than  be  sighing.'  Tad  would  go  all  to 
pieces  if  she  reversed  the  words  of  that  opera,  and  so 
would  my  father." 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  251 

"3014  N  Street 
Washington,  D.  C. 
April  14,  1924. 
My  dear  Aunt  Emilie : 

Your  letter  brings  to  my  memory  very  vividly  my  putting 
you  on  a  pass  going  south  just  before  the  great  surrender  at 
Appomattox.  I  cannot  help  thinking  of  it  all  now,  for  I 
myself  arrived  at  the  White  House  only  a  few  days  later, 
and  on  the  day  of  my  arrival  my  father  met  his  death,  so  it 
seems  to  me  to  be  a  time  of  very  sad  memories. 

Most  affectionately, 

Robert  T.  Lincoln." 

In  a  letter  from  Robert  Todd  Lincoln  to  his  aunt 
(Mrs.  Ben  Hardin  Helm)  he  tells  of  a  curious  freak 
of  fate  in  the  lives  of  the  Lincoln  family: 

"In  1863  or  1864  I  started  from  New  York  to  Wash- 
ington taking  at  Jersey  City  a  midnight  train.  Stand- 
ing in  the  station  having  a  sleeping  car,  the  stone 
platform  was  level  with  the  car  platform  on  which 
stood  a  conductor  selling  berth  tickets  to  a  line  of  pas- 
sengers who  stood  leaning  against  the  side  of  the  car. 
The  line  made  quite  a  little  crowd  of  which  I  was  one. 
Suddenly  the  train  began  to  move  and  by  the  motion 
and  the  crowding  of  my  neighbors  I  was  screwed  off 
my  feet,  which  dropped  into  the  slot  between  the  car 
and  the  platform — not  very  far  but  the  situation  was 


252  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

very  dangerous.  A  man  seized  my  collar  and  jerked 
me  with  great  vigor  out  of  the  slot  and  onto  my  feet, 
on  the  platform.  Moving  to  thank  him  I  easily  recog- 
nized Edwin  Booth,  having  often  seen  him  on  the 
stage.  I  think  that  he  later  learned  my  name  from  a 
friend  of  his  who  was  a  fellow  staff  officer  of  mine,  to 
whom  I  related  the  incident  at  City  Point,  in  1865." 

President  and  Mrs.  Lincoln,  who  had  formed  a 
warm  friendship  for  Senator  James  Harlan  and  his 
wife,  often  invited  them  for  long  drives  into  the  coun- 
try.   Senator  Harlan  says: 

"During  these  drives  to  the  country  we  had,  of 
course,  unrestrained  conversation  with  each  other, — 
very  much,  I  think,  as  if  we  had  been  members  of  the 
same  family. 

"The  last  drive  we  had  together  occurred  almost  im- 
mediately after  the  fall  of  Richmond,  and  the  surren- 
der of  the  Confederates  at  Appomattox.  On  this  occa- 
sion we  four  drove  across  the  Potomac  River,  on  Long 
Bridge  into  Virginia,  and  thence  in  the  direction  of 
Falls  Church,  through  the  country  still  marred  and 
scarred — perhaps  I  ought  to  say  devastated — by  the 
recent  presence  of  the  great  armies  who  had  stripped 
it  of  almost  every  vestige  of  the  environments  of  civi- 
lized life,  including  its  once  comfortable  habitations, 
outbuildings,  orchards,  field  fences,  gardens  and  orna- 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  253 

mental  shrubbery.  Even  the  hills  had  been  deprived 
of  their  once  majestic  forests  of  native  trees.  After  a 
long  drive,  occupying  several  hours,  we  returned  to 
Washington  to  resume  the  drudgery  of  our  respective 
official  stations. 

"This  drive  has  become  for  me  historical; — first,  be- 
cause it  was  the  last  one  taken  by  me  in  his  company 
and  proved  to  have  been  so  near  the  end  of  his  life; 
and,  secondly,  because  he  had  suddenly  become,  on  the 
fall  of  Richmond  and  the  surrender  of  the  Confederate 
Army,  April  9,  at  Appomattox,  a  different  man.  His 
whole  appearance,  poise,  and  bearing  had  marvelously 
changed.  He  was,  in  fact,  transfigured.  That  inde- 
scribable sadness  which  had  previously  seemed  to  me 
an  adamantine  element  of  his  very  being  had  been  sud- 
denly changed  for  an  equally  indescribable  expression 
of  serene  joy! — as  if  conscious  that  the  great  purpose 
of  his  life  had  been  achieved.  His  countenance  had 
become  radiant, — emitting  spiritual  light  something 
like  a  halo.  Yet  there  was  no  manifestation  of  exalta- 
tion or  ecstasy.  He  seemed  the  very  personification  of 
supreme  satisfaction.  His  conversation  was,  of  course, 
correspondingly  exhilarating." 

Besides  the  regular  announcement  of  the  play  to  be 
seen  at  Ford's  Theatre,  Friday  night,  April  14,  a  spe- 


254  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

cial  notice  had  been  inserted  in  "City  Items"  of  the 

Evening  Star. 

"Ford's  Theatre.  Honor  to  our  Soldiers!  A  new 
and  patriotic  song  and  chorus  has  been  written  by  Mr. 
H.  B.  Phillips,  and  will  be  sung  this  evening  by  the 
Entire  Company  to  do  honor  to  Lieutenant  General 
Grant  and  President  Lincoln  and  Lady,  who  will  visit 
the  Theatre  in  compliment  to  Miss  Laura  Keene, 
whose  benefit  and  last  appearance  is  announced  in  the 
bills  of  the  day.  The  music  of  the  above  song  is  com- 
posed by  Professor  W.  Withers,  Jr." 

Harry  Chapman  Ford  said  that  about  half  past 
eleven  in  the  morning  his  father  told  Wilkes  Booth  of 
the  coming  visit  of  the  President  to  the  evening  per- 
formance, and  knowing  Booth's  sympathies  for  the 
South  and  also  to  tease  him,  mentioned  that  they  would 
"have  Jeff  Davis  and  Bob  Lee,  handcuffed  and 
shackled,  in  the  opposite  box."  "My  father,"  com- 
mented Mr.  Ford,  "always  considered  that  this 
thoughtless  jest  hurried  Booth  to  a  quicker  line  of 
action." 

Friday  afternoon  was  cold,  raw,  and  gusty.  The 
sky  was  overcast  with  dark  clouds,  the  air  was  pene- 
trating and  chilly  with  occasional  showers. 

The  President  and  Mrs.  Lincoln  in  spite  of  the  very 
inclement  weather  went  for  their  accustomed  drive, 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  255 

and  Mrs.  Lincoln  asked  if  he  would  like  to  invite  any 
friends  to  drive  with  them.  "No,  I  prefer  to  ride  by 
ourselves  to-day,"  he  answered.  Mr.  Lincoln  was  su- 
premely happy  now  that  the  war  had  come  to  a  close. 
"We  must  be  more  cheerful  in  the  future,  Mary;  be- 
tween the  war  and  the  loss  of  our  darling  Willie  we 
have  been  very  miserable." 

Mr.  Lincoln  seemed  so  happy  and  cheerful  that 
Mary's  heart  was  filled  with  joy.  "I  have  not  seen  you 
so  happy  since  before  Willie's  death,"  she  said  to  him. 
"Mary,"  he  replied,  "we  have  had  a  hard  time  of  it 
since  we  came  to  Washington,  but  the  war  is  over,  and 
with  God's  blessing  we  may  hope  for  four  years  of 
peace  and  happiness,  and  then  we  will  go  back  to  Illi- 
nois and  pass  the  rest  of  our  lives  in  quiet.  We  have 
laid  by  some  money,  and  during  this  term  we  will  try 
and  save  up  more,  but  I  shall  not  have  enough  to  sup- 
port us.  We  will  go  back  to  Illinois,  and  I  will  open 
a  law  office  at  Springfield  or  Chicago  and  practice  law 
and  at  least  do  enough  to  help  give  us  a  livelihood." 

It  was  late  in  the  afternoon  when  they  returned  from 
their  drive.  A  group  of  friends,  Richard  Oglesby, 
then  governor  of  Illinois,  among  them,  were  crossing 
the  lawn  towards  the  treasury.  The  President  called 
to  them,  "Come  back,  boys,  come  back."  Mary  Lin- 
coln smiled  tenderly  and  happily  as  she  heard  her 


256  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

husband  call  these  dignified,  titled  men  "boys."  Yes, 
after  all,  at  heart,  men  were  only  boys.  Remembering 
the  fear-ridden  gloomy  months  so  recently  passed, 
Mary  marveled  that  to-day  her  spirit  should  be  soaring 
with  almost  her  old-time  gayety,  in  spite,  too,  of  a  head- 
ache from  which  she  had  been  suffering  all  day.  They 
entered  the  White  House — Mary  went  to  her  room  to 
rest,  leaving  Mr.  Lincoln  and  his  friends  laughing  and 
jesting.    Governor  Oglesby  said: 

"Lincoln  got  to  reading  some  humorous  book — I 
think  it  was  by  'J°rm  Phoenix.'  They  kept  sending  for 
him  to  come  to  dinner.  He  promised  each  time  to  go, 
but  would  continue  reading  the  book.  Finally  he  got 
a  sort  of  peremptory  order  that  he  must  come  to  dinner 
at  once.  It  was  explained  to  me  by  the  old  man  at  the 
door  that  they  were  going  to  have  dinner  and  then  go 
to  the  theater." 

It  was  after  eight  o'clock  when  the  Presidential  thea- 
ter party  left  the  White  House.  The  guests  of  honor 
for  whom  the  party  had  been  designed,  General  and 
Mrs.  Grant,  had  left  the  city  early  in  the  evening,  and, 
although  Mrs.  Lincoln  was  indisposed  and  the  Presi- 
dent who  had  seen  the  play  once  before  was  reluctant 
to  go,  they  did  not  wish  to  disappoint  the  public,  and 
inviting  two  young  friends,  Miss  Harris  and  Major 
Rathbone,  to  go  with  them,  ordered  the  carriage.     It 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  257 

was  late  when  the  Presidential  party  drew  up  before 
Ford's  Theater.  As  they  made  their  way  along  the 
gallery  behind  the  seats  of  the  dress  circle,  the  audience 
cheered,  the  orchestra  played  "Hail  to  the  Chief,"  the 
actors  in  the  meantime  standing  silent.  The  Presi- 
dent's party  passed  into  the  box,  laid  aside  their  wraps, 
and  bowing  and  smiling,  seated  themselves.  The 
President  occupied  a  large  armchair  at  the  left,  Mrs. 
Lincoln  next  to  him,  Miss  Harris  next,  and  to  the  ex- 
treme right,  Major  Rathbone,  a  little  behind  Miss 
Harris. 

The  President  was  amused  and  laughed  good- 
humoredly  at  the  jokes  in  the  play;  he  chatted  cour- 
teously with  his  guests  between  the  acts.  It  was 
draughty  in  the  box.  At  a  look  from  Mary,  Mr.  Lin- 
coln rose  from  his  seat  and  swung  into  his  overcoat. 
He  settled  his  long  form  back  into  the  chair,  all  laugh- 
ing happily.  A  shot!  A  moment's  deadly  silence — a 
woman's  agonized  scream — a  cry  of  "Murder!"  The 
audience,  viewing  a  stage  comedy,  suddenly  realized 
that  a  tragedy  had  been  enacted  in  real  life — then  a 
pandemonium  of  excitement  and  fierce  anger.  Women 
fainted,  men  hoarsely  screamed  for  vengeance  against 
the  assassin. 

Mary  Lincoln,  with  ashen  cheeks  and  lips,  her  eyes 
wide  with  tragic  horror  and  despairing  grief,  stood 


258  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

a  moment  with  her  hands  pressed  to  her  heart  in  the 
old  familiar  gesture  of  trying  to  still  its  tumultuous 
beating — then  she  sunk  to  her  knees  at  the  feet  of  her 
dying  husband  in  a  panic  of  uncontrollable  grief.  This 
threatened  and  awful  calamity  that  she  had  feared  so 
long,  and  that  had  destroyed  her  sense  of  happy  se- 
curity for  four  long  years,  had  fallen  at  last  like  a 
thunderbolt  out  of  a  clear  sky — just  when  she  had  come 
to  think  that  the  danger  was  past  and  that  she  and  her 
husband  had  before  them  years  of  happiness  and  peace. 
Major  Rathbone  attempted  vainly  to  hold  the  as- 
sassin, who  slashed  him  with  a  knife  and,  slashing  and 
cutting  all  who  stood  in  his  way,  escaped,  for  a  time, 
with  a  broken  leg.  Miss  Laura  Keene  went  to  the 
front  of  the  stage  and  tried  to  calm  the  frantic  audi- 
ence. "For  God's  sake  have  presence  of  mind  and  keep 
your  places,  and  all  will  be  well."  Miss  Harris  came 
to  the  front  of  the  box  and  called,  "Miss  Keene,  bring 
some  water.  Has  anyone  any  stimulants?"  "What  is 
it?  What  is  the  matter?"  Miss  Keene  inquired.  "The 
President  is  shot,"  answered  Miss  Harris.  Physicians 
were  hurriedly  called,  the  silent  figure  reclining  so 
quietly  and  calmly  in  the  armchair  was  stretched  on 
the  floor  and  the  search  for  the  wound  was  in  progress 
when  Miss  Laura  Keene  reached  the  box.  Miss  Keene 
dropped  to  the  floor  and  lifted  the  unconscious  Presi- 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  259 

dent's  head  in  her  arms,  and  her  dress  stained  crimson 
from  the  wound  in  his  head  indicated  the  entrance  of 
the  fatal  bullet. 

The  silent  figure  was  tenderly  lifted  and  carried  out 
of  the  theater  to  the  street.  A  helpless  pause — and  one 
of  the  bearers  asked,  "Where  shall  we  take  him?"  A 
man  was  standing  on  the  opposite  side  of  the  street 
wondering  what  could  be  the  meaning  of  the  excited 
crowds,  seeing  a  grief-stricken  woman  with  flowers  in 
her  hair  and  hearing  someone  say  "The  President  is 
shot."  Hearing  the  bearer  ask,  "Where  shall  we  take 
him?"  "Bring  him  here  into  my  room,"  he  said,  com- 
ing quickly  forward.  The  still  unconscious  form  of 
the  President  was  carried  up  the  high  steps  and  placed 
upon  a  hastily  prepared  bed  in  a  small  room  in  the 
house  across  the  street  from  Ford's  Theater.  Surgeons 
and  physicians  gathered  about  the  President  in  a  des- 
perate effort  to  save  his  life.  Among  the  physicians 
was  Dr.  Beecher  Todd  of  Lexington,  Kentucky,  a  cou- 
sin and  dear  friend  of  Mrs.  Lincoln. 

Messengers  were  sent  in  every  direction,  one  has- 
tened to  the  White  House  to  summon  Robert  Lincoln, 
who  had  only  that  day  arrived  in  Washington.  Inti- 
mate friends  and  prominent  officials  had  quickly  gath- 
ered. The  death-like  stillness  was  only  broken  by  the 
labored  breathing  of  the  dying  man  and  the  heart- 


260  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

breaking  sobs  and  moans  of  his  wife,  "Oh,  my  God,  and 
must  I  give  my  husband  to  die?"  she  moaned  in  a  voice 
of  anguish.  Captain  Robert  Lincoln,  weeping  bit- 
terly, stood  at  the  head  of  the  bed  by  the  side  of  Senator 
Sumner.  The  long  night  wore  away.  Mr.  Robert 
Lincoln  told  the  author  he  thought  the  interminable 
agony  of  this  night  would  never  end,  the  hopeless 
watching,  the  anguished  weeping,  finally,  the  utter, 
peaceful  stillness  of  death — at  twenty-two  minutes  after 
seven  o'clock  on  Saturday  morning.  The  bells  all  over 
Washington  tolled  for  the  death  of  the  President. 
Houses  and  streets  were  hung  with  black,  flags  at  half- 
mast — the  crowds  on  the  streets  were  white-faced  and 
whispering. 

The  shock  of  this  great  culminating  blow  shattered 
the  last  of  Mary  Lincoln's  reserve  force  already  so 
weakened  by  former  losses  and  repressions.  Her  col- 
lapse was  utter  and  complete.  She  could  not  lift  her 
head  from  the  pillow  without  fainting.  Little  Tad 
never  left  her,  his  grief  was  so  frantic  that  his  mother 
tried  to  control  herself  to  comfort  Tad.  Sunday  morn- 
ing the  sun  rose  in  brilliant  splendor,  and  Tad  took 
it  to  be  a  sign  that  his  father  was  happy  in  heaven.  "I 
am  glad  he  has  gone  there,"  he  exclaimed,  "for  he  was 
never  happy  after  he  came  here.  This  was  not  a  good 
place  for  him." 


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Mary  Todd  Lincoln 
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MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  261 

The  bullet  which  took  the  life  of  her  beloved  hus- 
band practically  ended  the  life  of  Mary  Todd  Lincoln. 
She  was  martyred  by  the  same  bullet  and  for  the  same 
cause  which  made  Abraham  Lincoln  a  deified  martyr. 
Her  husband's  agony  was  soon  over,  stilled  in  peaceful 
death,  while  she,  with  this  mortal  wound  in  her  heart, 
must  linger  and  suffer  untold  agony  for  many  years. 
She  wrote  afterwards,  "All  I  wished  then  was  to  die, 
if  it  had  been  our  Heavenly  Father's  will."  j(From 
letter  to  Congressman  Orne.) 

She  and  her  son  Robert  were  overwelmed  by  an  ava- 
lanche of  letters  and  telegrams.  I  am  quoting  three 
of  particular  interest,  one  from  Queen  Victoria,  one 
from  the  Empress  Eugenie,  and  one  from  Louis 
Philippe  D'Orleans,  better  known  as  the  Comte  de 
Paris. 

"Osborne. 
April  29,  1865. 
"Dear  Madam, 

Though  a  stranger  to  you  I  cannot  remain  silent  when 
so  terrible  a  calamity  has  fallen  upon  you  and  your  country, 
and  must  personally  express  my  deep  and  heartfelt  sym- 
pathy with  you  under  the  shocking  circumstances  of  your 
present  dreadful  misfortune. 

No  one  can  better  appreciate  than  /  can,  who  am  myself 
utterly  brokenhearted  by  the  loss  of  my  own  beloved  Hus- 
band, who  was  the  light  of  my  life, — my  stay — my  all, — 


262  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

what  your  sufferings  must  be ;  and  I  earnestly  pray  that  you 
may  be  supported  by  Him  to  whom  alone  the  sorely  stricken 
can  look  for  comfort,  in  this  hour  of  heavy  affliction. 

With  renewed  expressions  of  true  sympathy,  I  remain 
dear  Madam, 

Your  sincere  friend 

Victoria." 

"Madame:  L'Empereur  fait  parvenie  a  Washington  les 
temoignages  officials  de  l'indignation  et  de  la  douleur 
qu'inspire  a  la  France  le  coup  fatal  vient  de  frapper  le 
President  Lincoln. 

Mais  a  cote  de  cette  calamite  nationale  il  y  a  un  malheur 
domestique  qui  eveille  dans  mon  coeur  une  emotion  profond. 
Je  veux,  Madame,  vous  en  offrir  personnellement  l'expres- 
sion,  ainsi  que  Fassurance  des  voeux  que  j'adresse  au  ciel 
pour  qu'il  vous  donne  la  force  de  supporter  cette  cruelle 
epreuve.  Croyez,  Madame,  a  ma  vive  sympathie  et  a  mos 
sentiments  les  plus  sinceres. 


Eugenie. 


Paris  28  avril,  1865. 
Tuileries." 


"York  House, 
Truckenham,  S.  W. 
May  5th,  1865. 

"Madam: 

The  overwhelming  affliction  which  has  befallen  you  and 

which  has  spread  mourning  not  only  over  your  country  but 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  263 

over  the  whole  world,  ought  perhaps  to  command  my  silent 
sympathy.  But  that  national  calamity  is  also  a  personal 
loss  to  me  who  had  many  opportunities  of  appreciating  him- 
self the  noble  heart,  the  great  qualities  of  M.  Lincoln  who 
held  from  him  his  commission  in  the  Federal  army  and  who 
gratefully  remembers  the  gracious  and  friendly  manner  in 
which  it  was  tendered  to  him.  I  hope  therefore  that  you 
will  excuse  the  liberty  I  take  to  offer  you  the  expression  of 
my  sincere  condolence  with  your  grief.  It  is  an  impulse 
which  I  could  not  resist,  an  homage  which  I  am  anxious  to 
pay  to  a  great  and  respected  memory. 

Nobody  pretends  to  offer  you  any  consolations,  for  what 
mean  the  voices  of  the  whole  world  when  the  only  voice 
which  we  long  to  hear  once  more  is  silent  forever?  But  the 
expressions  of  sympathy  are,  perhaps,  more  acceptable  when 
they  come  from  one  who  has  gone  himself  through  the 
terrible  ordeal  of  great  and  untimely  family  losses. 

It  is  with  those  feelings  that  I  beg  you,  Madam,  to  be- 
lieve me 

Your  most  devoted, 
Louis  Philippe  D'Orleans." 


CHAPTER  XII 


WAITING 


A  S  SOON  as  Mary  Lincoln  and  her  son  Robert 
•*^-  were  calm  enough  to  think  of  themselves  and 
their  affairs,  they  settled  all  their  debts  in  Wash- 
ington— no  one  at  the  Capital  should  say  that  Presi- 
dent Lincoln  died  insolvent.  She,  to  be  sure,  had  some 
personal  debts  which  she  must  and  would  pay  later  if 
the  New  York  merchants  would  give  her  time.  She 
wrote  to  Congressman  Orne: 

"I  told  you  what  my  eldest  son  and  I  have  always 
kept  to  ourselves,  that  as  soon  as  our  senses  could  be 
regained  I  had  every  Washington  and  every  other  in- 
debtedness sent  to  me  and  out  of  every  dollar  I  could 
command  I  paid  to  the  utmost  farthing.  In  some  cases 
known  to  the  Administration,  but  in  very  few,  it  was 
all  done  by  ourselves,  my  son  and  myself,  out  of  our 
money,  so  it  should  be  said  President  Lincoln  was  not 
in  debt.  This  is  one  of  the  causes  why  I  am  so  strait- 
ened now,  for  living  as  we  were  compelled  to,  my  hus- 
band not  being  a  rich  man,  and  we  had  to  pay  enor- 
mous prices  for  everything  those  war  times." 

For  five  weeks  after  her  husband's  death  Mary  Lin- 
coln had  not  been  able  to  rise  from  her  bed,  and  then 

264 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  265 

came  the  heart-breaking  task  of  packing  up  to  leave 
the  White  House,  each  article  had  some  association 
with  her  dear  dead — Willie — her  husband.  Lizzie 
Keckley,  the  efficient  colored  seamstress,  who  had  taken 
tender  care  of  her  during  her  five  weeks'  illness,  super- 
intended the  packing,  and  in  May,  1865,  broken  in 
health  and  mind,  Mary  Lincoln,  accompanied  by  her 
two  sons,  Robert  and  Tad,  left  the  White  House  for 
Chicago. 

There  was  a  long  delay  in  the  settlement  of  Mr.  Lin- 
coln's estate  and  by  1867  the  $22,000  allotted  her  by 
Congress  for  the  President's  unfinished  term  had  grown 
alarmingly  less.  The  bills  for  unsettled  accounts  that 
she  had  asked  the  merchants  to  send  her  had  come  all 
too  promptly  and  she  was  overwhelmed  at  their  magni- 
tude; mortified  and  terror  stricken,  too,  at  her  inability 
to  settle  her  indebtedness,  she  was  dazed  and  did  not 
know  where  to  turn  for  help.  For  at  this  time  Mary 
was  a  singularly  lonely  woman.  Due  to  her  mental 
trouble,  which  had  been  daily  increasing  ever  since  her 
husband's  death,  her  former  good  judgment  had  be- 
come impaired.  Her  sisters  and  other  relatives  who 
voiced  to  Mary  their  indignant  protests,  entreating  her 
to  curb  her  excitement  and  eccentricity,  only  incurred 
her  anger  and  had  become  estranged  from  her;  they 
did  not  understand  until  later,  the  tragic  cause  which 


266  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

finally  several  physicians  and  a  jury  of  twelve  men  pro- 
nounced— insanity.  These  terrible  debts  were  making 
her  head  ache.  She  felt  as  if  red-hot  needles  were  being 
driven  through  her  brain.  Honesty  was  ingrained  in 
Mary's  code  of  life,  and  these  merchants  must  not 
suffer  loss  through  her  folly.  She  must  sell  everything! 
It  would  be  humiliating. 

In  her  extremity  and  weakness  she  reverted  to  the 
impulse  of  her  childhood,  which  had  been  to  seek  the 
love  and  help  she  had  unfailingly  found  in  her  black 
mammy  who  had  shielded  her  from  many  a  deserved 
scolding.  In  the  faithful,  sympathetic  colored  woman, 
Elizabeth  Keckley,  formerly  a  slave  in  a  good  old  Vir- 
ginia family,  Mary  saw  the  only  available  substitute, 
and  to  her  she  turned  blindly  for  sympathy  and  advice 
— with  most  disastrous  result.  Mary,  with  the  aid  of 
Elizabeth  Keckley,  attempted  to  dispose  of  laces, 
frocks,  everything — it  was  a  dismal  failure.  Her  piti- 
ful efforts  to  settle  her  debts  brought  down  upon  her 
head  insults  and  vituperation  from  the  press  both 
North  and  South.  No  one  seemed  to  recognize  the 
sturdy  honesty  which  made  this  shrinking  woman  will- 
ing to  swallow  her  pride  in  this  futile  adventure.  She 
was  frantic  with  humiliation  at  the  publicity  and  criti- 
cisms; her  heavy  black  crepe  veil  was  drawn  closer 
and  more  and  more  did  she  shrink  from  an  unsympa- 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  267 

thetic,  misunderstanding  world.     Nor  did  she  suffer 
alone,  as  the  following  will  show. 

Extract  from  letter  written  to  Miss  Mary  Harlan 
by  Robert  Todd  Lincoln : 

Oct.  1 6th,  '67 
Chicago,  Illinois 

"I  suppose  you  have  seen  some  of  the  papers  so  there 
is  no  need  of  detailing  what  I  was  told  they  were  full 
of.  I  did  not  read  them.  The  simple  truth,  which  I 
cannot  tell  to  anyone  not  personally  interested,  is  that 
my  mother  is  on  one  subject  not  mentally  responsible. 
I  have  suspected  this  for  some  time  from  various  indi- 
cations and  now  have  no  doubt  of  it.  I  have  taken  the 
advice  of  one  or  two  of  my  friends  in  whom  I  trust 
most  and  they  tell  me  I  can  do  nothing.  It  is  terribly 
irksome  to  sit  still  under  all  that  has  happened  and  say 
nothing,  but  it  has  to  be  done.  The  greatest  misery 
of  all  is  the  fear  of  what  may  happen  in  the  future. 
This  is,  of  course,  not  to  be  foreseen  and  is  what  trou- 
bles me  most.  I  have  no  doubt  that  a  great  many  good 
and  amiable  people  wonder  why  I  do  not  take  charge 
of  her  affairs  and  keep  them  straight  but  it  is  very  hard 
to  deal  with  one  who  is  sane  on  all  subjects  but  one. 
You  could  hardly  believe  it  possible,  but  my  mother 
protests  to  me  that  she  is  in  actual  want  and  nothing  I 
can  do  or  say  will  convince  her  to  the  contrary.     Do 


268  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

you  see  that  I  am  likely  to  have  a  good  deal  of  trouble 

in  the  future,  do  what  I  can  to  prevent  it." 

Mary  Lincoln  was  not  the  only  one  in  that  fatal  box 
at  Ford's  Theater,  April  14,  1865,  whose  reason  was 
dethroned  by  shock.  Poor  Major  Rathbone,  years 
later,  was  adjudged  insane  and  his  experience  on  that 
tragic  night  was  supposed  to  have  been  the  cause. 

There  were  intervals,  however,  when  Mary  was  al- 
most her  brave,  normal,  high-spirited  self  and  a 
stranger  meeting  her  would  see  no  trace  of  an  unbal- 
anced mentality.  At  other  times,  with  her  brain  on 
fire  with  pain,  she  was  submerged  in  gloom  and  her 
heart  was  filled  with  bitterness  against  the  sad  fate 
which  had  overtaken  her.  At  such  times — sunk  in 
despair,  inert,  listless,  no  courage  left  to  fight  the  battle 
of  life — she  ironically  contrasted  her  situation  with 
that  of  those  who  were  winning  the  plaudits  of  a  grate- 
ful North  and  were  being  showered  with  magnificent 
gifts  of  houses  and  bank  accounts  while  she,  the  widow 
of  the  murdered  chief,  was  overwhelmed  with  unkind- 
ness.  When  Charles  Sumner,  that  staunch  friend  of 
her  husband  and  herself,  urged  Congress  to  make  her 
an  appropriation,  Congress  hesitated  long  years  over 
an  appropriation  of  twenty-five  thousand  dollars  and 
an  annuity  of  two  thousand  dollars — both  were  finally 
granted  before  her  death  but  with  so  much  reluctance, 


David  Todd,   Mary  Todd  Lincoln's  Half  Brother 
From   a   photograph  taken   about   1862 


Mrs.  Charles  Kellogg    (Margaret  Todd),  the  Eldest  of  Mrs.  Lincoln' 

Half  Sisters 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  269 

wrangling,  and  rudeness  that  any  graciousness  attached 
to  the  nation's  gift  was  lost  in  the  manner  of  its  be- 
stowal. "Rich  gifts  wax  poor,  when  the  giver  proves 
unkind." 

The  image  of  her  husband  filled  Mary's  heart  and 
mind.  The  past — there  was  no  past  for  her  in  which 
he  did  not  figure;  the  present  was  overflowing  with 
horror  at  his  tragic  death ;  the  future  loomed  a  dreary 
interminable  waste  without  his  dear  companionship. 
Broken-hearted,  bewildered,  she  was  like  a  traveler 
lost  in  the  desert.  She  did  not  know  where  to  turn, 
where  to  find  an  oasis  of  comfort.  She  hungered  and 
thirsted  for  sympathy  and  friendship.  Restless  and 
unhappy,  she  wandered  from  one  lonely  spot  to  another 
seeking  what  she  could  never  hope  to  find,  peace, 
health,  surcease  from  her  overwhelming  sorrow.  Pur- 
sued by  ignorant  gossip,  she  became  extremely  sensitive 
and  avoided  notoriety  by  living  in  the  most  unostenta- 
tious, quiet  way  possible.  While  her  husband  lived 
she  could  smile  and  jest  at  the  unpleasant  things  said 
of  them  both ;  but  now  her  smiles  were  tears,  her  jests 
were  sobs.  She  was  truly  a  victim  of  the  cruel  times 
in  which  she  lived,  a  suffering,  innocent  creature, 
whose  only  crime  was  her  prominence. 

Mrs.  Shipman  writes  that  sometime  in  the  latter  part 
of  the  sixties  she  was  visiting  in  Chicago.    Just  before 


270  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

she  left  Louisville,  Kentucky,  she  promised  Mr.  and 
Mrs.  Speed  that  she  would  call  on  Mrs.  Lincoln  who 
was  then  in  Chicago.  Mrs.  Shipman,  though  some- 
what impressed  by  the  newspaper  stories  of  Mrs.  Lin- 
coln and  advised  by  the  friends  she  was  visiting  that 
Mrs.  Lincoln  lived  in  strictest  seclusion  and  declined 
to  receive  or  to  return  any  calls,  was  discouraged  but 
at  the  same  time  resolved  to  fulfill  her  promise.  To 
her  surprise  Mrs.  Lincoln  not  only  received  her  cor- 
dially but  returned  her  call  the  next  day.  This  meet- 
ing with  the  daughter  of  one  of  Mrs.  Lincoln's  inti- 
mate girlhood  friends  developed  into  a  warm  friend- 
ship. 

Mrs.  Shipman  relates  an  incident  that  happened 
when  she  and  her  brother  were  in  Baltimore  at  Bar- 
num's  Hotel.  Mrs.  Lincoln  was  there  at  the  same  time 
with  Robert  and  Tad.  The  two  latter  having  to  return 
to  Washington,  Mrs.  Lincoln  asked  Mrs.  Shipman  and 
her  brother  to  accompany  her  in  to  dinner.  As  they 
entered  the  dining  room  they  heard  on  all  sides,  from 
whispers  to  loud  tones,  "Mrs.  Lincoln,  Mrs.  Lincoln." 
"Some  of  the  guests,"  said  Mrs.  Shipman,  "so  far  for- 
getting themselves  as  to  rise  from  their  seats  to  stare  at 
her.  Mrs.  Lincoln  was  embarrassed  and  indignant, 
and  this  was  a  mild  exhibition  of  the  vulgar  imperti- 
nence to  which  she  was  habitually  exposed  on  her 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  271 

travels.  It  has  been  said,  perhaps  untruthfully,  that 
she  sometimes  traveled  incognito.  If  she  did,  is  it  any 
wonder  that  having  the  courage  of  a  strong  individu- 
ality she  tried  to  escape  this  ill-bred  vulgar  curiosity 
by  so  simple  a  stratagem?" 

To  quote  Mrs.  Shipman  again: 

"My  opportunities  for  judging  her  entitle  me  to 
speak  of  her  [Mrs.  Lincoln]  with  some  confidence.  In 
her  younger  days  she  was  intimate  with  my  mother  and 
in  later  years  during  the  trying  period  of  her  widow- 
hood I  saw  a  great  deal  of  her  under  a  variety  of  cir- 
cumstances. She  was  vivacious  and  mercurial,  full  of 
repartee  and  dash  but  never  unrefined;  and  though  by 
nature  light-hearted  was  never  light-headed.  Her  con- 
versation and  letters  plainly  betokened  the  cultivated 
lady.  She  was  perfectly  frank  and  extremely  high- 
spirited  and,  when  she  thought  the  occasion  demanded 
it,  capable  no  doubt  of  a  cutting  expression.  A  more 
affectionate  heart  I  never  knew.  In  mental  training, 
intelligence,  and  accomplishments,  quite  equal  to  her 
position  and  more  than  the  equal  of  many  of  those  who 
have  occupied  it.  She  bore  herself  throughout  as  a 
warm-hearted,  whole-souled,  high-spirited  Kentucky 
woman,  which  she  was." 

"No  woman,"  wrote  another  friend  of  Mrs.  Lin- 
coln's, "ever  sustained  the  dignity  of  widowhood  with 


272  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

more  appropriate  behavior.  Only  once  did  she  lay 
aside  her  heavy  weeds,  and  this  at  the  earnest  solicita- 
tion of  her  son  Tad  on  the  occasion  of  his  birthday, 
when  she  wore  a  plain  black  silk  dress,  but  never  again 
could  she  be  induced  to  put  off  her  deep  mourning 
which  was  the  external  emblem  of  her  incurable 
grief." 

Mr.  Paul  Shipman  writes  to  the  editor  of  the  Louis- 
ville Courier-Journal: 

"General  Badeau  in  the  New  York  World  gives  his 
personal  recollections  of  Mrs.  Lincoln.  While  I  was 
Consul  General  at  London,'  he  says,  'I  learned  of  her 
[Mrs.  Lincoln]  living  in  an  obscure  quarter  and  went 
to  see  her.  She  was  touched  by  the  attention  and  when 
I  asked  her  to  my  house — for  it  seemed  wrong  that  the 
widow  of  the  man  who  had  done  so  much  for  us  all 
should  be  ignored  by  an  American  representative — she 
wrote  me  a  note  of  thanks,  betraying  how  rare  such 
courtesies  had  become  to  her  then.'  This  is  a  little  too 
much!  If  I  ever  catch  the  spirit  of  Mr.  Toodles,  I 
should  make  General  Badeau's  acquaintance  and  he 
should  do  me  the  honor  to  ask  me  to  his  house  and  I 
should  accept  or  decline  without  thanks.  I  wish  him 
to  understand  in  advance  that  I  omit  the  thanks  simply 
and  purely  to  exclude  his  conclusion  that  such  cour- 
tesies have  become  rare  with  me.    In  the  face  of  social 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  273 

logic  of  this  sort,  a  gentleman  must  needs  show  himself 
a  boor  to  prove  himself  not  a  beggar.  General  Badeau 
says  Mrs.  Lincoln  was  touched  by  the  attention  he  paid 
in  calling  on  her. 

"If  thus  easily  touched,  her  sensibilities  during  her 
short  stay  in  London  must  have  been  rather  heavily 
taxed  for  I  seldom  met  her  that  she  did  not  have  some- 
thing to  tell  me  of  this,  that  or  the  other  distinguished 
person  who  had  just  called  on  her — now  Bishop  Simp- 
son, now  Mr.  Motley,  the  Comte  de  Paris,  and  so  on 
to  the  end  of  the  shining  chapter.  General  Badeau, 
misled  by  his  peculiar  logic  of  etiquette,  mistook  her 
civility  as  he  misplaced  his  compassion.  Her  polite- 
ness he  may  rest  assured  was  no  appeal  to  his  pity.  She 
did  not  appear  to  think  herself  neglected.  But  if 
touched  by  his  attention,  I  have  no  doubt  she  would 
be  touched,  if  living,  by  the  apology  he  makes  now  for 
having  shown  it.  She  is  dead,  but  the  American  peo- 
ple, it  is  to  be  hoped,  will  accept  this  apology. 

"As  to  the  quarter  of  London  in  which  Mrs.  Lincoln 
lived,  a  word  will  suffice.  Her  residence  was  in  sight 
of  Bedford  Square,  perhaps  five  minutes'  walk  from 
the  British  Museum,  a  quarter  of  London  abounding 
in  noble  mansions  which  throughout  the  first  quarter 
of  this  century  held  the  rank  and  fashion  of  the  town 
and  still  holds  the  flower  of  its  gentry.     It  is  an  airy 


274  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

sunny  cheerful  district  of  the  metropolis,  respectable  in 
every  sense  and  'obscure'  in  none.  Mrs.  Lincoln,  in 
fact,  could  scarcely  have  chosen  a  more  suitable 
quarter.  Her  life  at  this  time  was  subservient  to  Tad 
who  lived  with  her,  pursuing  his  studies  under  a  tutor. 
She  appeared  wrapped  up  in  him,  shunned  rather  than 
courted  attention  and  desired  above  all  things  peace 
and  retirement. 

"I  saw  a  good  deal  of  her,  as  my  wife,  of  whom  she 
was  an  old  friend,  could  not  go  out  at  the  time,  she 
was  often  at  our  rooms  and  once  I  accompanied  her 
to  hear  Spurgeon  preach.  I  found  her  sympathetic, 
cordial,  sensible,  intelligent,  and  brimming  with  that 
bonhomie  so  fascinating  in  the  women  of  your  own 
South,  of  whom  indeed  she  was  one.  No  trace  of 
eccentricity  appeared  in  her  conduct  or  manners.  She 
was  simply  a  bright,  wholesome,  attractive  woman.  I 
could  not  for  the  life  of  me  recognize  the  Mrs.  Lincoln 
of  the  newspapers  in  the  Mrs.  Lincoln  I  saw." 

Mrs.  Lincoln's  eldest  son,  Robert  Todd  Lincoln,  was 
a  great  stay  and  comfort  to  his  mother.  In  1868  he 
married  Miss  Mary  Harlan,  a  very  popular  girl  of 
Washington  society.  Mrs.  Lincoln  was  delighted  with 
her  son's  choice.  Several  years  before  President  Lin- 
coln's death,  he  had  said  to  Mr.  Stanton:  "Mary  is 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  275 

tremendously  in  love  with  Senator  Harlan's  little 
daughter.  I  think  she  has  picked  her  out  for  a  daugh- 
ter-in-law.    As  usual,  I  think  Mary  has  shown  fine 


taste." 


The  first  child  of  this  marriage  was  named  for  her 
grandmother,  Mary  Todd  Lincoln,  and  when  Mrs. 
Shipman  met  Mrs.  Abraham  Lincoln  in  London,  she 
says  Mrs.  Lincoln  often  spoke  of  her  son  Robert  and 
his  little  family  and  was  always  planning  to  send  them 
some  gift.  She  sent  her  daughter-in-law  a  wrap  of 
"silver  gray  and  Marie  Louise  blue"  and  wrote  her, 
"It  is  as  pretty  as  can  be  and  Bob  will  surely  think 
you  are  more  charming  than  ever  when  you  are  ar- 
ranged in  it."  She  finishes  this:  "I  feel  miserably 
blue  to-day.  I  am  just  recovering  from  a  severe  at- 
tack of  neuralgia  in  my  head,  accompanied  by  great 
indisposition  which  has  been  my  faithful  companion 
for  more  than  two  weeks — my  health  has  been  quite 
as  bad  as  it  was  last  winter.  I  am  well  aware  with- 
out my  physician  so  frequently  repeating  to  me — 
that  quiet  is  necessary  to  my  life;  therefore  in  such 
places,  I  must  at  present  abide — certainly  ill  luck  pre- 
sided at  my  birth — certainly  within  the  last  few  years 
it  has  been  a  faithful  attendant." 

Letter  to  Mrs.  Orne: 


276  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

"Frankfurt,  February  n,  1869. 
"Tomorrow  is  the  anniversary  of  my  dear  husband's 
birthday  and  it  may  be,  if  my  health  continues  to  fail  me 
as  it  is  now  so  fast  doing,  another  birthday  will  find  me 
with  him.  I  too,  dear,  loved  Mr.  Stanton  yet  he  died  peace- 
fully on  his  bed  almost  five  years  after  the  close  of  the  War. 
My  husband,  great,  good,  and  glorious  beyond  all  words  of 
praise,  was  cruelly  murdered,  snatched  from  the  side  of  the 
wife  and  family  who  adored  him  without  being  able  to  sigh 
a  farewell." 

Tad  was  a  splendid  manly  fellow,  and  his  mother 
completely  submerged  her  life  in  his.  Her  supreme 
interest  now  was  his  education.  She  writes  to  Mrs. 
Orne  from  Frankfurt,  Germany,  December  29,  1869, 
"Taddie  is  like  some  old  woman  with  regard  to  his 
care  of  me.  His  dark,  loving  eyes  watching  over  me 
remind  me  so  much  of  his  dearly  beloved  father's." 

Another  letter  to  Mrs.  Orne: 

"If  my  darling  husband  had  lived  out  his  four  years  he 
promised  me  we  should  live  our  remaining  years  in  a  home 
we  both  should  have  enjoyed.  *  *  *  Bowed  down  and 
broken-hearted  in  my  terrible  bereavement  my  thoughts  this 
last  sad  summer  have  often  turned  to  you.  I  have  remem- 
bered with  most  grateful  emotions  your  tender  sympathy 
in  the  first  days  of  my  overwhelming  anguish.  Time  does 
not  reconcile  me  to  the  loss  of  the  most  devoted  and  loving 
husband  a   sadly  afflicted  woman  ever  possessed.     How 


Alexander  H.  Todd 

The  youngest  of  the  Todd  children,  killed  during  a  skirmish  at 
Baton  Rouge,  Louisiana,  August,   1863 


I 


Mrs.  Ben  Hardin  Helm  (Emilie  Todd) 
From  a  photograph  made  in  1864 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  277 

dearly  I  long,  my  kind  friend,  to  lay  my  aching  head  and 
sorrowing  heart  by  the  side  of  this  dearly  beloved  one. 
When  the  summons  comes  for  my  departure  I  will  gladly 
welcome  it  for  there  the  weary  are  at  rest." 

It  was  her  greatest  pleasure  to  receive  and  answer 
letters  from  home.  Few  days  passed  that  she  did  not 
write  to  her  daughter-in-law. 

"London 

No.  9  Woburn  Place 
Russell  Square. 
"My  dear  Mary — your  most  acceptable  letter  was  re- 
ceived to-day.  Need  I  say  to  you,  how  much  delight  it 
affords  me  to  hear  from  you.  That  blessed  baby,  how 
dearly  I  would  love  to  look  upon  her  sweet  young  face. 
If  my  boy  Taddie  and  myself  are  wanderers  in  a  strange 
land,  our  thoughts  are  continually  with  you  and  we  speak 
of  you  very  frequently — I  have  just  received  a  letter  from 
Mrs.  Simpson  who  is  now  en  route  to  Italy.  When  she 
left  here  we  came  to  some  understanding  that  I  might  join 
her  about  Christmas,  in  Rome.  As  a  matter  of  course, 
even  if  it  suited  pecuniarily,  which  it  does  not,  it  would 
never  do  to  have  Taddie  or  his  tutor  accompany  me.  Tad- 
die  is  closeted  with  his  tutor  seven  and  a  half  hours  each 
day,  and  from  Saturday  to  Saturday.  When  I  am  with  him 
for  three  hours  to  listen  to  his  examination  of  his  studies  of 
the  week  I  can  see  a  great  improvement  in  him.  But  of 
course  if  I  go  to  Italy  the  tutor  must  be  relinquished  and  he 
placed  in  school  or  I  must  trust  him  to  the  stormy  waves 


278  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

and  the  merciful  Providence  of  our  great  Father  in  Heaven 
for  safety  and  protection  until  he  lands  in  America! 
Driving  down  to  the  bank  at  noon  to-day  for  letters  I  pro- 
posed to  Tad  with  a  trembling  voice  and  aching  heart  you 
may  be  sure,  that  he  would  embark  on  the  Russia  which 
sails  next  Saturday  week  for  the  U.  S.  Dec.  ioth  and  go 
home  pass  his  Christmas  with  you  and  Bob  and  immediately 
afterwards  be  placed  in  school.  Study  more  than  he  does 
now  he  could  not  possibly  do.  If  he  only  had  the  informa- 
tion of  his  tutor,  who  is  most  indefatigable,  I  told  him 
to-day,  I  would  be  willing  to  live  on  a  crust  of  bread  a  day 
— almost.  To-night,  we  are  engaged  to  meet  Governor 
Evans  and  family  and  I  am  going  to  ask  Governor  Evans' 
candid  advice  on  the  subject.  He  came  over  last  week 
on  the  same  vessel.  To  trust  my  beautiful,  darling  good 
boy  to  the  elements,  at  this  season  of  the  year,  makes 
my  heart  faint  within  me.  Each  breath  I  drew  would  be 
a  prayer  for  his  safety,  which  only  those  who  have  been  as 
deeply  bereaved  as  myself  could  fully  understand.  On  the 
other  hand,  the  English  schools  have  vacation  for  a  month 
after  Christmas  which  if  I  did  not  send  Tad  home  would 
delay  my  going  to  Italy  until  the  1st  of  Feb.,  keeping  him 
with  his  tutor  in  the  mean-time  at  hard  study. 

I  am  troubled  to  hear  of  your  dear  mother's  continued 
ill  health.  I  do  so  trust  that  Bob  will  come  over  with 
you  if  it  is  only  for  three  months,  it  would  do  him  such 
a  world  of  good.  He  loves  you  so  very  dearly  and  misses 
you  very  greatly.  I  was  such  an  excessively  indulged 
wife — my  darling  husband  was  so  gentle  and  easy.     You 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  279 

know  you  will  always  be  first  love  of  daughters- 
in-law.  I  often  tell  Tad  I  can  scarcely  flatter  myself  he  will 
ever  marry  to  suit  me  quite  as  well  as  dear  Bob  has  done. 
Please  present  my  warmest  love  to  your  mother  and 
father.  *  *  *" 

"Florence,  Italy — Feb.  12,  1870. 
My  dear  Mary: 

My  servant  woman  and  I  have  arrived  safely  after  much 
fatigue  in  this  beautiful  Florence.  We  came  through  the 
charming  Tyrol,  via  Milan  and  Lake  Como,  had  a  day's 
sail  on  the  latter  the  beauties  of  which  are  simply  indescrib- 
able. Passed  three  days  at  Geneva  and  found  Mrs.  Simp- 
son and  Ida  here  wondering  what  had  become  of  me. 
Yesterday  we  went  together  to  the  Pitti  Palace  where  the 
King  resides  and  saw  the  room  where  the  beautiful  Princess 
Marguerite  sleeps.  We  can  only  wish  her  health  and  happi- 
ness all  her  days  knowing  full  well  by  experience  that  power 
and  high  position  do  not  ensure  a  bed  of  roses.  Mrs.  S. 
has  been  here  already  four  weeks.  *  *  *  Armed  with 
my  guide  book,  a  desire  to  see  all  that  is  wonderful 
and  strange  and  with  my  faithful  domestic  following  in  my 
wake,  I  must  pursue  my  journey  alone.  At  Venice,  where 
Mrs.  Simpson  has  not  yet  been,  in  three  weeks'  time  we  will 
meet  and  wend  our  way  up  to  dear  old  Frankfurt,  thence  to 
England.  I  received  a  letter  this  morning  from  dear  Tad, 
I  wrote  you  that  until  the  middle  of  April  next  he  is  placed 
with  young  Evans  in  an  English  school.  I  am  neglecting 
to  tell  you  that  we  visited  the  studio  on  yesterday  of  the 


280  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

man  to  whom  the  commission  was  given  for  the  statue  of 

my    dearly    beloved    husband." — [Larkin     Meade,     the 

Sculptor]. 

"Frankfurt — March  22. 
"My  very  dear  Mary: 

After  a  most  tedious  journey  from  Nice  of  constant 
travel  for  three  days,  I  arrived  here  this  morning.  Of 
course,  I  sent  immediately  for  my  Taddie  and  as  he  has 
just  left  me  for  an  hour,  I  feel  that  I  cannot  refrain  from 
writing  you,  for  your  most  welcome  letter  of  March  1st 
has  just  been  read.  It  pains  me  beyond  expression,  to  learn 
of  your  recent  illness  and  I  deeply  deplore  that  I  was  not 
with  you  to  wait  upon  you.  My  dear  child,  do  take  good 
care  of  your  precious  health — even  the  thought  of  you  at 
this  great  distance  is  a  great  alleviation  to  the  sorrow  I  am 
enduring. 

I  may  quietly  return  to  you,  as  it  is,  nothing  can  please 
me  in  what  is  beyond  doubt  most  necessary  at  the  present 
time  both  to  my  health  and  to  my  peace  of  mind — this 
change  of  scene.  My  thoughts  have  been  constantly  with 
you  for  months  past,  and,  oh !  how  I  have  wished  day  by 
day,  that  you  could  be  with  me  and  enjoy  the  air  and  the 
sunshine  of  the  lovely  climate  I  have  just  left.  It  would 
have  been  utterly  impossible  for  me  with  my  present  health 
and  sad  state  of  mind,  to  have  taken  the  least  interest  in 
Italian  cities  this  winter.  I  return  to  find  my  dear  boy 
much  grown  in  even  so  short  a  time  and  I  am  pained  to  see 
his  face  thinner,  although  he  retains  his  usual  bright  com- 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  281 

plexion.  He  is  doubtless  greatly  improving  in  his  studies, 
yet  I  am  very  sure  the  food  he  gets  at  his  school  does  not 
agree  with  him.  This  you  may  be  sure  is  a  most  painful 
belief  to  me.  When  I  am  here,  I  can  always  give  him  his 
dinner  as  he  has  their  permission  to  be  absent.  His  presence 
has  become  so  necessary  even  to  my  life.  In  two  days'  time 
he  will  have  his  Easter  vacation  for  ten  days  and  he  is 
urging  me  to  take  him  somewhere  at  that  time  and  if  I 
were  not  so  fatigued  would  gladly  consent  to  do  so,  but  I 
suppose  it  will  end  in  my  acquiescence  with  his  wishes.  *  *  * 
Do  oblige  me  by  considering  me  as  a  mother  for  you  are 
very  dear  to  me  as  a  daughter.  Anything  and  everything 
is  yours — if  you  will  consider  them  worth  an  acceptance. 
My  mind  was  so  distracted  with  my  grief  in  that  house,  375, 
I  cannot  remember  where  anything  was  put.  It  will  be 
such  a  relief  to  me  to  know  that  articles  can  be  used  and 
enjoyed  by  you.  *  *  *  Remember  everything  is  yours  and 
feeling  so  fully  assured  as  you  must  be  of  my  love,  will 
you  not,  my  dear  girl,  consider  them  as  such?  Oh!  that 
I  could  be  with  you !  for  with  the  lonely  life  I  impose  upon 
myself,  separation  from  those  I  love  so  much,  at  this  try- 
ing, heart-rending  time,  is  excruciating  pain.  If  when  we 
meet  I  find  you  restored  to  health  I  will  feel  in  a  measure 
compensated  for  the  dreary  absence.  I  am  glad  you  en- 
joyed your  visit  to  Springfield.  They  are  all  so  pleasantly 
situated — so  hospitable  and  so  fully  prepared  to  receive  you 
with  the  greatest  affection.  Do  make  the  promised  visit  to 
Mrs.  Edwards — [Elizabeth  Todd,  Mrs.  Lincoln's  sister] 
in  the  summer  and  then  go  to  the  seaside  and  rest  quietly 


282  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

for  a  month,  no  less  time.    Let  me  beseech  you,  dear  Mary, 

to  take  care  of  your  health. 

My  head  aches  now  for  the  tears  I  have  shed  this  morn- 
ing in  thinking  of  you  and  our  loving  boy.  Taddie  with  his 
great  good  heart  loves  you  so  devotedly.  I  shall  try  to  think 
of  you  as  with  your  dear  mother  while  it  is  so  cold  in 
Chicago  at  present.  I  know  they  will  be  careful  of  you.  I 
never  see  anything  particularly  pretty — that  I  do  not  wish 
it  was  yours.  My  spirit  is  very  willing  but  my  purse  not 
very  extensive. 

I  am  pained  to  hear  of  Bettie  Stuart's  death.  She  was  a 
most  amiable  woman,  and  her  father  is  a  very  dearly  loved 
cousin — a  most  affectionate  relative.  Did  you  see  Mrs. 
Lizzie  Brown  in  Springfield? — a  very  sweet  woman.  I 
shall,  dear  Mary,  await  most  anxiously  news  from  you. 
If  I  do  not  hear  soon  I  shall  imagine  every  trouble.  If  you 
will  write  to  dear  Taddie,  you  will  gratify  him  very 
much. 

Referring  to  that  speech  Mrs. made  you  last  winter 

that  housekeeping  and  babies  were  an  uncomfortable  state 
of  existence  for  a  young  married  lady  I  think  her  experience 
was  different  from  most  mothers  who  consider  that  in  the 
outset  in  life — a  nice  home — loving  husband  and  precious 
child  are  the  happiest  stages  of  life.  I  fear  she  has  grown 
moody,  but  at  the  same  time  I  hope  you  will  have  a  good 
rest  and  enjoy  yourself  free  for  a  year  or  more  to 
come.  The  Doctor  has  just  left  me  and  says  he  wonders  to 
find  me  sitting  up. 

You  should  go  out  every  day  and  enjoy  yourself — you 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  283 

are  so  very  young  and  should  be  as  gay  as  a  lark.  Trouble 
comes  soon  enough,  my  dear  child,  and  you  must  enjoy  life, 
whenever  you  can.  We  all  love  you  so  very  much — and  you 
are  blessed  with  a  devoted  husband  and  darling  child — 
so  do  go  out  and  enjoy  the  sunshine.  I  do  so  hope  your 
dear  mother  has  recovered  her  health.  When  I  can  I  will 
write  to  her.  Do,  I  pray  you,  write  frequently.  I  do  wish 
you  would  take  out  the  double  India  shawl,  with  a  red  cen- 
ter, which  I  never  wore  and  make  faithful  use  of  it." 

"Obennsel,  Germany, 
May  19th,  1870. 
"My  dear  Mary: 

I  have  come  out  here  to  pass  a  day  or  two  with  Taddie 
(his  new  school  quarters)  as  I  leave  most  probably  tomor- 
row for  Bohemia — a  journey  which  will  require  fully  twenty 
hours  to  accomplish.  The  first  evening  I  will  stop  at  the 
very  old  town  of  Nuremburg,  so  full  of  interest  and  per- 
haps remain  there  a  day  to  see  the  old  castles  and  churches. 
This  morning  in  this  old  village  five  minutes  by  rail  from 
Hamburg,  I  entered  an  old  church  with  dates  of  16 10  on  it. 
The  Christs  that  are  suspended  on  the  walks  around  the 
town — bear  dates  1704 — until  we  get  accustomed  to  seeing 
these  things  they  appear  very  strange  to  fresh  American 
eyes.  When  I  came  out  here  two  or  three  days  since,  I  had 
just  returned  from  a  most  charming  trip  in  the  Odenwald 
Mountains,  where  the  scenery  is  very  beautiful  also  Tad 
went  with  me  to  Heidelburg,  to  Baden  for  a  few  hours  and 


284  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

travelled  in  the  Black  Forest.  At  Heidelburg  we  ascended 
the  mountain  one  morning  about  nine  o'clock  roamed 
through  the  ruins  of  the  magnificent  old  castle  and  took 
our  breakfast  in  the  grounds  where  there  is  a  very  fine 
restaurant.  At  noon  we  proceeded  to  Baden  and  ascended 
another  mountain  height,  in  the  evening  to  visit  the  ruins 
of  another  grand  old  castle — centuries  back.  The  next  day 
we  went  out  to  "La  Favorita"  the  abode  of  the  "White 
Lady."  Taddie  and  I  were  continually  wishing  that  you 
and  Bob  and  that  precious  baby  were  with  us. 

Mrs.  Lincoln  writes  to  Mrs.  Shipman: 

"Frankfurt  am  Main, 
June  29,  1870. 
"My  dear  Mrs.  Shipman: 

Although  weary  months  have  passed  since  your  very  kind 
and  welcome  letter  was  received,  yet  notwithstanding  it  has 
so  long  remained  unanswered.  You  have  been  very  fre- 
quently in  my  thoughts  and  I  have  been  mentally  wishing 
you  such  a  world  of  happiness  in  your  new  marriage  rela- 
tions. Your  letter  in  the  early  spring  found  me  quite  an 
invalid  and  I  have  just  returned  from  a  long  visit  to  the 
Marienbad  baths  and  waters  in  Bohemia  and  I  find  my 
health  greatly  benefited.  I  can  well  imagine  how  greatly 
you  have  enjoyed  your  journeyings  in  Europe  and  I  truly 
hope  we  may  meet  whilst  we  are  both  abroad.  You  with 
your  life  so  filled  with  love  and  happiness,  whilst  I  alas 
am  but  a  weary  exile.  Without  my  beloved  husband's  pres- 
ence, the  world  is  filled  with  gloom  and  dreariness  for  me. 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  285 

I  am  going  with  my  young  son  in  a  day  or  two  into  the 
country  to  remain  some  weeks.  If  you  will  kindly  write 
me  and  direct  to  care  of  Philip  Nicoll  Schmidt,  Bankers, 
Frankfurt,  Am  Main,  Germany,  I  will  receive  it.  The 
name  of  the  gentleman  you  have  married  is  too  prominent 
a  one  in  America  not  to  be  familiar  to  me  and  associated 
with  one  so  highly  gifted  as  Mr.  Prentice  was.  The  gems 
of  poetry  he  has  written  will  always  fill  our  minds  and 
hearts  with  remembrance  of  him.  Dickens  too  has  passed 
away.  How  much  delight  it  would  give  me  to  meet  you  this 
summer.  Do  you  ever  hear  from  our  amiable  and  lovely 
friend,  Mrs.  Speed?  With  compliments  to  Mr.  Shipman 
and  many  affectionate  congratulations  to  yourself. 

I  remain  always  truly  yours, 

Mary  Lincoln." 

She  writes  to  Mrs.  Orne: 

"Frankfurt,  Germany, 

August  17,  1870. 

"I  must  speak  of  my  young  boy.     He  has  become  so 

homesick  and  at  the  same  time  his  English  education  has 

become  so  neglected  that  I  have  consented  with  many  a 

heartache  to  permit  him  to  go  home." 

With  her  heart  quivering  and  aching,  she  had  ever 
before  her  the  image  of  her  idolized  husband.  Travel 
could  not  dim  her  grief,  and  she  dreaded  a  return  to 
America,  where  her  memories  would  be  quickened  into 
more  vivid  pain. 


286  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

"August  20 

"Dear  Mary.  My  very  pleasant  and  affectionate  friend 
arrived  in  town  since  I  wrote  the  first  part  of  this  letter — 
Mrs.  Orne.  She  came  from  Hamburg  in  search  of  me  and 
has  rooms  at  the  same  Hotel  where  I  am  now  stopping. 
We  are  together  all  the  time.  She  is  a  very  lovely  woman 
and  will  remain  here  some  time,  she  says,  to  be  with  me. 
I  feel  quite  made  up." 

This  note  was  slipped  into  a  sad  letter  which  Mrs. 
Lincoln  had  just  written  her  daughter-in-law.  The  joy  she 
expresses  in  the  love  and  companionship  of  her  friend — 
Mrs.  Orne,  shows  how  lonely  she  had  been,  how  she  craved 
understanding  and  friendship — but  nothing,  for  long,  could 
still  that  urge  for  constant  change  of  scene  which  drove 
her  from  place  to  place  in  the  vain  effort  to  drown  thought 
and  sorrow. 

"Leamington,  England, 
Sept.  10,  1870. 
"My  dear  Mary, 

Your  very  welcome  letter  was  received  last  evening. 
Taddie  and  his  tutor  began  their  studies  together  on  yester- 
day, both  appear  deeply  interested.  He  comes  to  us  most 
highly  recommended,  and  I  shall  see  that  not  a  moment 
will  be  idly  passed.  From  eight  until  one  o'clock  each 
day  Tad  is  seated  at  his  table — with  his  tutor  studying 
and  from  five  to  seven  each  evening  with  his  tutor  he  is 
studying  his  lessons.     On  no  occasion  do  I  intend  that  he 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  287 

shall  deviate  from  this  rule.  I  have  just  been  in  to  see 
him  studying,  and  they  are  earnestly  engaged — for  dear 
life.  The  gentleman  who  is  teaching  him  is  very  highly 
educated — very  quiet  and  gentlemanly  and  patience  itself. 
Tad  now  realizes  the  great  necessity  of  an  education,  and 
I  am  sure  will  do  well.  I  am  coughing  so  badly  that  I 
can  scarcely  write.  I  left  Liverpool  last  Saturday  after- 
noon so  completely  sick  that  I  determined  to  come  on  here 
to  be  well  attended  to.  This  is  the  first  day  I  have  sat 
up  since  then  and  a  physician  tells  me  that  as  soon  as  possi- 
ble I  should  go  to  a  dryer  climate.  It  will  be  a  great 
trial  to  separate  myself  from  dear  Mrs.  Orne  who  has 
proved  so  loving  a  friend  to  me.  But  my  health  is  again 
beginning  to  fail  me  as  it  did  last  winter.  I  can  only  hope 
that  I  can  secure  some  quiet  Southern  nook  to  rest — until 
the  disturbances  in  Italy  have  ceased.  When  I  see  you 
I  can  tell  you  a  great  deal  about  the  war  which  I  cannot 
now  write. 

Later  in  October  she  writes  again : 

"Leamington,  England, 
October  27,  '70. 
"My  dear  Mrs.  Shipman: 

Your  very  kind  and  welcome  letter  of  September  27  has 
just  been  received  from  Frankfurt.  I  cannot  express  to 
you  how  deeply  I  regret  not  being  in  Frankfurt  when  you 
were  there.  I  have  been  absent  most  of  the  time  from 
Germany  since  last  June,  have  been  occasionally  in  London 
but  this  I  have  considered  my  resting  place.    I  am  exceed- 


288  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

ingly  anxious  to  meet  you,  and  if  you  could  not  come  here 
to  the  loveliest  garden  spot  of  Europe  I  would  run  up  any 
time  to  London.  In  three  hours  and  a  half  we  arrive  there 
passing  through  Oxford.  Very  possibly  you  may  have  been 
here, — surrounded  by  Kenilworth  Castle,  Warwick  Castle, 
Stratford-on-Avon,  nine  miles  distant,  and  only  a  very  pleas- 
ant drive.  My  son  of  course  is  here  with  me.  I  have 
been  fortunate  enough  to  secure  a  very  fine  English  tutor 
for  him,  who  comes  to  us  very  highly  recommended,  a  very 
fine  scholar  and  a  gentlemanly,  conscientious  man.  He 
recites  his  lessons  with  his  tutor  seven  hours  of  each  day, 
so  you  can  imagine  that  I  see  very  little  of  my  dear,  good 
son.  If  he  improves  as  he  is  doing  I  shall  be  satisfied. 
Many  Americans  are  always  here.  One  especial  family 
with  whom  I  have  been  very  intimate  for  years,  has  been 
with  me  all  the  time.  Again  I  repeat,  I  long  to  see  you. 
My  remembrance  of  you  is  of  a  very  agreeable  nature,  and 
in  this  strange  land  those  whom  we  have  formerly  loved 
become  doubly  dear.  Hoping  that  I  may  soon  hear  from 
you,  my  dear  friend,  and  with  compliments  for  your  hus- 
band and  much  love  for  yourself. 

Your  affectionate  friend, 

Mary  Lincoln." 

"9  Woburn  Place, 

Russell  Square,  Jan.  13,  1871. 

"My  dear  Mrs.  Shipman: 

I  have  concluded  in  the  weakness  of  my  Mother  heart  to 

accompany  my  son  out  to  his  school  and  perhaps  remain  a 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  289 

day  or  two  near  him.  As  the  movement  is  somewhat  unex- 
pected, I  have  in  consequence  not  a  moment  to  lose  and  it 
grieves  me  to  say  not  even  an  opportunity  of  saying  to  you, 
for  whom  I  entertain  so  true  and  firm  a  friendship,  fare- 
well. Even  now  I  am  being  hurried,  yet  I  could  not  leave 
your  neighborhood  without  committing  my  regrets  to  paper. 
I  shall  hope  soon  to  hear  the  good  news  that  your  health 
has  improved.  I  go  myself  coughing  most  disagreeably 
and  a  bundle  of  wrappings.  My  servant  woman  has  proved 
herself  within  the  past  week  a  good  nurse.  With  kind  re- 
gards to  Mr.  Shipman  and  ever  so  much  love  to  your  dear 
self,  believe  me  always 

Your  truly  affectionate  friend, 

Mary  Lincoln." 

"London,  January  26th,  1871. 
"My  dear  Mary 

Count  de  Paris  came  in  about  a  week  since,  twelve  miles 
from  Tuckenham,  to  see  me,  having  only  heard  the  day 
before  that  I  was  in  town.  He  then  wished  me  to  name  a 
day  when  I  would  drive  with  them,  and  on  my  table  this 
morning  I  find  a  most  urgent  note  to  come  out  to  visit  them. 
I  will  do  so,  on  my  return  in  the  spring.  *   *   * 

Be  sure  to  write  often  to  me  for  everything  connected 
with  you  or  yours  is  of  deep,  deep  interest  to  me.  How 
pained  I  am,  dear  Mary,  to  hear  of  your  beloved  mother's 
continued  illness.  Tad  is  often  very  anxious  to  hear  of 
your  brother  for  he,  with  his  loving  heart,  is  very  much 
attached  to  him.     Tad  is  almost  wild  to  see  Bob,  you  and 


290  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

the  baby;  he  thinks  the  latter  must  be  a  rare  young  lady,  I 
am  also  of  his  opinion.  I  scarcely  imgained  when  I  began 
this  letter  that  my  strength  would  hold  out  for  more  than 
three  pages,  but  the  themes  which  we  discuss  together  in  our 
epistles  are  decidedly  exciting  and  exhaustless.  *   *  *" 

When  homesickness  at  last  became  unendurable  to 
both  Tad  and  his  mother,  they  returned  to  America 
and  were  welcomed  in  the  home  of  her  son  Robert 
T.  Lincoln  and  his  wife  in  Chicago. 

In  May,  1871,  Mrs.  Abraham  Lincoln  wrote  to  her 
cousin  Eliza  Stuart: 

"Wabash  Avenue, 

May . 

"My  dear  Cousin: 

My  young  son  is  confined  to  his  bed  with  a  severe  cold 
and  in  consequence  we  will  not  remove  to  the  Clifton  House 
until  Saturday.  We  are  received  with  so  much  affection 
here  and  notwithstanding  the  confined  limits  of  this  charm- 
ing little  home  my  son  Robert,  who  is  all  that  is  noble  and 
good  and  his  lovely  little  wife  will  not  hear  to  our  removal. 
Yet  as  she  is  compelled  to  go  instantly  to  her  mother,  who 
is  in  a  most  critical  state,  I  think  we  had  best  make  the 
change.  In  reality  when  they  return,  of  course  we  will  be 
almost  always  together.  I  love  my  son's  wife  whom  I  have 
known  since  she  was  a  child  just  as  well  as  my  own  sons 
and  her  warm  heart  has  always  been  mine.  You  are  so 
amiable  and  good  and  will  appreciate  all  such  kindly  rela- 
tions.    Dear  Cousin  Eliza,  when  you  are  coming  in  town 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  291 

with  Lizzie  drop  in  and  see  me.  Broken-hearted  as  I  am 
over  my  deep  bereavement,  yet  the  memory  of  earlier  years 
and  the  memory  of  those  who  were  so  kind  to  me  in  my 
desolate  childhood  is  ever  remembered  by  me.  My  life  was 
so  enriched  by  the  most  loving  and  devoted  of  husbands 
which  makes  the  present  all  the  more  sorrowful  to  bear. 
Do  come.  I  trust  you  will  remain  in  town  some  days  longer. 
With  much  love  I  remain, 

Your  affectionate  cousin, 

Mary  Lincoln." 

To  Mary  Lincoln's  clouded  mind  and  abysmal  sor- 
row, even  her  happy,  carefree,  tomboy  childhood,  filled 
with  more  than  the  usual  luxuries  and  advantages, 
seemed  desolate  without  the  presence  of  her  beloved 
husband.  Only  the  life  she  spent  with  him  seemed 
worth  while  and  happy — that  part  of  the  past  without 
him  seemed  desolate,  and  though  she  had  two  loving 
and  devoted  sons  and  a  daughter-in-law  as  dear  to  her 
as  her  own  sons,  the  present  without  her  "most  loving 
and  devoted  husband"  was  too  sorrowful  to  bear. 

Tad  was  well  enough  to  be  moved  to  the  Clifton 
House  but  soon  after  grew  much  worse. 

"Mt.  Pleasant,  Iowa, 
July  3rd,  1 87 1. 
"Dear  Robert: 

I  received  yours  of  the  25th  and  28th  on  my  return  home 
after  a  week's  absence  in  the  interior  of  the  State.     I  was 


292  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

wretchedly  uneasy  about  your  Brother,  and  could  hear 
nothing:  telegraphed  from  Davenport  on  Friday,  but  re- 
ceived no  reply.  I  infer  from  all  the  intimations  from 
Washington  and  your  silence  that  he  must  be  better — and 
I  trust  out  of  danger.  I  am  very  solicitous  to  have  Mary 
with  her  Mother  as  much  as  possible  while  I  am  compelled 
to  be  absent:  it  is  almost  a  necessity  that  this  should  be  so, 
or  that  I  should  give  up  the  contest  here,  as  every  imag- 
inable scheme  is  being  resorted  to  to  control  the  election  of 
Members  of  the  "general  assembly."  As  I  am  in  it,  per- 
haps it  would  be  as  well  for  you  and  Willie  that  I  should 
go  successfully  through,  if  I  can  do  so  honorably.  But  this 
requires  my  presence  in  the  State  for  the  time  being.  And 
yet  I  would  not  remain  away  from  Mrs.  Harlan  unless 
assured  that  she  is  both  well  taken  care  of  and  satisfied. 
When  Mary  is  with  her  I  know  everything  will  be  right. 
But  I  feel  that  this  imposes  a  hardship  on  you,  which  per- 
haps ought  not  to  be  permitted. 

Page  2,  Senator  Harlan's  letter: 

I  wish  you  would  send  me  the  paper  announcing  Allison's 
arrival  as  "U.  S.  Senator  from  Iowa." 

Yours  truly, 

Jas.  Harlan. 

"Since  writing  the  foregoing  I  have  received  a  telegram 
via  Muscatine. 

J.H. 
UR.  T.  Lincoln,  Esq., 
Chicago,  111. 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  293 

Extracts  from  letter  written  by  Robert  Todd  Lincoln 
to  his  wife : 

"Chicago,  July  11,  1871. 
"*  *  *  Mr.  Thomas  Lincoln  has  been  picking  up  for 
the    last   two   or   three    days    and  is    to   all    appearances 
improving,  his  face  has  lost  some  of  its  expression  of  dis- 
tress.*  *   *" 

Tad  seemed  to  be  improving  and  Robert  Lincoln 
and  his  mother  were  so  relieved  they  could  smile  and 
jest  with  the  beginning  of  hope  that  "Mr.  Thomas 
Lincoln"  would  recover,  but  three  days  later,  July  14, 
in  another  letter  to  his  wife,  Robert  Lincoln  says : 

"I  am  sorry  to  tell  you  that  Tad  seems  to  be  losing 
ground.  Yesterday  was  very  hot  and  oppressive  and  he 
got  in  a  bad  way  during  the  night  and  this  morning  was 
nearly  as  bad  as  the  first  night  you  came  to  the  Clifton 
House.  I  have  just  now  (2  o'clock)  come  from  him  and 
he  is  looking  and  feeling  better,  but  Dr.  Davis  says  he  can 
see  nothing  to  found  any  hope  of  his  recovery  upon  and 
that  he  can  live  only  a  few  days — with  the  weak  action  of 
his  heart  and  lungs.  To-day  there  is  a  fine  breeze  and  the 
air  is  really  delightful — all  of  which  makes  him  feel  better 
but  really  have  little  or  no  effect  upon  his  trouble.  He  is 
looking  dreadfully." 

The  next  day,  July  15,  Tad  breathed  his  last. 

Extracts  from  letter  to  Mrs.  Robert  Lincoln  from 
her  husband : 


294  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

"We  came  back  from  Springfield  this  morning  all 
well.  I  will  not  attempt  to  tell  you  all  that  has  happened 
in  the  last  ten  days,  for  I  am  a  good  deal  used  up.  Last 
Tuesday,  Wednesday  and  Thursday  morning  Tad  appeared 
a  great  deal  better.  He  was  stronger  and  looking  well  and 
the  water  was  reduced  a  good  deal  in  his  chest.  Thursday 
was  very  close  and  oppressive  and  it  pulled  him  back  very 
much.  Friday  afternoon  he  seemed  to  rally  again  and  at 
eleven  P.  M.  was  sleeping  nicely  with  prospects  of  having  a 
good  night,  so  I  left  him  with  mother  and  his  two  nurses 
and  went  to  the  house.  I  was  aroused  at  half  past  four  and 
went  to  the  hotel  and  saw  at  once  that  he  was  failing  fast. 
He  was  in  great  distress  and  laboring  for  breath  and  ease 
but  I  do  not  think  he  was  in  acute  pain.  He  lingered  on 
so  until  between  half  past  seven  and  eight,  when  he  sud- 
denly threw  himself  forward  on  his  bar  and  was  gone. 

Poor  mother  was  almost  distracted  but  Mrs. devoted 

herself  to  her,  and  we  took  her  up  to  the  house.     During 

the  day  Mrs. ,  Mrs.  Farlin  and  Mrs.  Wm.  H.  Brown 

were  with  her.  The  next  morning  Mrs.  Dr.  Brown  and 
your  father  came.  We  had  services  in  the  house  in  the 
afternoon  and  at  night  I  went  down  to  Springfield — with 
a  car  full  of  friends.  Mother  was  utterly  exhausted  and 
could  not  go  but  Mrs.  Dr.  Brown  stayed  with  her  until  I 
got  back.  I  have  a  nurse  with  her  and  she  is  doing  very 
well — better  than  I  expected.  I  hope  and  expect  that  in  a 
few  days  I  will  get  her  to  go  down  to  Springfield  to  my 
aunt  Mrs.  Edwards,  and  if  so  I  will  think  I  have  done  a 
good  deal. 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  295 

"I  am  very  glad  the  picture  of  the  baby  [Mary  Todd 

Lincoln,  named  for  her  grandmother]  came  in  Friday  for 

Tad  was  delighted  with  it  and  it  was  really  the  last  pleasure 

he  had  on  earth." 

His  poor  mother,  frantic  with  anxiety,  had  nursed 
Tad  without  rest  or  sleep  until  the  end — and  with  his 
death  a  crushing  weight  was  added  to  her  burden  of 
sorrow  and  denser  clouds  to  her  already  clouded 
mentality. 

Four  years  later,  May  19,   1875,  her  son  Robert, 

with  the  deepest  grief,  was  compelled  to  have  her 

placed  in  a  sanitarium.     The  following  letters  will 

explain  themselves. 

"Chicago, 

June  1,  1875. 

uMrs.  J.  H.  Orne. 

My  dear  Madam: 

Your  letter  written  immediately  after  you  received  the 

news  of  the  proceedings  which  I  was  unhappily  compelled  to 

take,  should  have  received  an  earlier  reply  and  I  must  beg 

you  to  excuse  my  apparent  neglect.    If  you  have  since  then 

seen  any  detailed  account  of  the  occurrences  which  forced 

me  to  place  my  mother  under  care,  I  think,  indeed,  know, 

you  could  not  but  have  approved  my  action.    Six  physicians 

in  council  informed  me  that  by  longer  delay  I  was  making 

myself  morally  responsible  for  some  very  probable  tragedy, 

which  might  occur  at  any  moment.     Some  of  my  Eastern 

friends  have  criticized  the  public  proceedings  in  court,  which 


296  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

seemed  to  them  unnecessary.  Against  this  there  was  no 
help,  for  we  have  a  statute  in  this  State  which  imposes  a 
very  heavy  penalty  on  any  one  depriving  an  insane  person 
of  his  liberty  without  the  verdict  of  a  jury.  My  mother 
is,  I  think,  under  as  good  care  and  as  happily  situated  as 
is  possible  under  the  circumstances.  She  is  in  the  private 
part  of  the  house  of  Dr.  Patterson  and  her  associates  are 
the  members  of  his  family  only.  With  them  she  walks  and 
drives  whenever  she  likes  and  takes  her  meals  with  them  or 
in  her  own  room  as  she  chooses,  and  she  tells  me  she  likes 
them  all  very  much.  The  expression  of  surprise  at  my 
action  which  was  telegraphed  East,  and  which  you  doubt- 
less saw,  was  the  first  and  last  expression  of  the  kind  she 
has  uttered  and  we  are  on  the  best  of  terms.  Indeed  my 
consolation  in  this  sad  affair  is  in  thinking  that  she  herself 
is  happier  in  every  way,  in  her  freedom  from  care  and 
excitement,  than  she  has  been  in  ten  years.  So  far  as  I  can 
see  she  does  not  realize  her  situation  at  all.  It  is  of  course 
my  care  that  she  should  have  everything  for  her  comfort 
and  pleasure  that  can  be  obtained.  I  can  tell  you  nothing 
as  to  the  probability  of  her  restoration.  It  must  be  the 
work  of  some  time  if  it  occurs.  Her  physician  who  is  of 
high  repute  is  not  yet  able  to  give  an  opinion.  The  responsi- 
bility that  has  been  and  is  now  on  me  is  one  that  I  would 
gladly  share  if  it  was  possible  to  do  so,  but  being  alone  as 
I  am,  I  can  only  do  my  duty  as  it  is  given  me  to  see  it. 
Trusting  that  I  am  guided  for  the  best. 

Very  sincerely  yours, 

Robert  T.  Lincoln." 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  297 

"August  8th. 
"Robert  T.  Lincoln,  Esq., 
Dear  Sir: 

Your  letter  dated  June  1st  has  just  reached  me  on  my 
return  from  Saratoga.  I  thank  you  very  much  for  it.  It 
is  a  great  comfort  to  hear  from  your  own  self,  of  the  loving 
care  and  wise  guidance  which  your  dear  Mother  is  under. 
Not  that  I  ever  had  one  doubt  of  that,  for  I  know  too 
much  of  your  goodness  as  a  son  from  her  own  lips  to  ever 
allow  the  first  thought  or  suggestion  to  have  any  influence 
over  me,  and  I  doubt  if  there  ever  was  more  than  one  or 
two  persons  that  had,  for  at  Saratoga  where  there  is  always 
a  great  concourse  of  people,  I  never  heard  the  first  person 
say  ought  but  that  you  had  done  perfectly  right  and  spoke 
warmly  in  your  praise  also.  I  only  wish  all  the  States  had 
the  same  "Statute."  It  is  a  blessed  one.  I  can  readily  see 
how  comfortable  your  dear  Mother  is  made  by  your 
thoughtful  care,  and  can  with  you  believe  her  happier  than 
she  has  been  for  years.  Dear  precious  one!  How  my 
heart  goes  out  towards  her  in  love  and  affection!  You 
may  hope  for  her  restoration.  The  physicians  both  here 
and  in  Europe  pronounced  my  son-in-law  incurable.  Still 
he  surprised  them  all  with  return  to  health.  There  is  a 
"Great  Physician"  above  all  others  "whose  arm  is  not 
shortened''  and  to  whom  we  may  all  look.  God  give  you 
strength  to  bear  up  under  this  chastening,  and  crown  your 
days  with  such  happiness  that  such  a  son  of  such  a  father 
most  justly  deserves.     And  now,  Mr.  Lincoln,  if  there  is 


298  MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN 

ever  anything  I  can  do  for  your  Mother,  remember  I  am 

at  your  service. 

With  kind  regards  to  yourself  and  your  wife,  I  remain 
with  great  respect, 

Yours  very  truly, 

Sally  B.  Orne." 

At  the  end  of  eleven  months  Mary  Lincoln  was 
declared  sane.  Her  sister  Elizabeth  (Mrs.  Edwards) 
went  to  the  sanitarium  at  Batavia  and,  accompanied 
by  her  sister  and  a  trained  nurse,  Mary  went  back  to 
Springfield.  She  was  depressed  and  unhappy^  "I 
cannot  endure  to  meet  my  former  friends,  Lizzie,"  she 
said  bitterly;  "they  will  never  cease  to  regard  me  as  a 
lunatic,  I  feel  it  in  their  soothing  manner.  If  I  should 
say  the  moon  is  made  of  green  cheese  they  would  heart- 
ily and  smilingly  agree  with  me.  I  love  you,  but  I 
cannot  stay.  I  would  be  much  less  unhappy  in  the 
midst  of  strangers." 

Mrs.  Edwards,  knowing  that  her  sister  was  far  from 
normal,  felt  very  apprehensive  to  see  her  leave  but 
she  put  no  obstacle  in  her  way;  indeed,  she  came  to 
think  that  a  complete  change  might  be  beneficial  to 
her  mentally  and  physically.  So  Mary  Lincoln,  rest- 
less, hoping  to  find  forgetfulness  in  travel  abroad,  went 
to  France,  to  Germany,  to  Italy.  At  Pau,  France,  in 
December,    1879,   she   fell   from   a   stepladder  while 


MARY,  WIFE  OF  LINCOLN  299 

hanging  a  small  picture  over  her  mantelpiece  and  seri- 
ously injured  her  spine.  Fearing  now  that  she  might 
die  among  strangers,  in  October,  1880,  she  sailed  for 
America.  Her  nephew  met  her  in  New  York  and 
escorted  her  back  to  Springfield  to  the  home  of  her 
sister,  Mrs.  Edwards.  There,  shrinking  and  sensitive, 
seeing  no  one — even  when  she  was  persuaded  to  take 
a  drive  the  carriage  curtains  must  be  drawn — she  spent 
the  remainder  of  her  broken,  clouded  life  in  the  home 
filled  with  memories  of  her  sparkling,  happy  girlhood, 
her  rose-colored  dreams  of  love  and  life.  Prostrated 
by  illness,  the  light  of  life  and  joy  blotted  out  for  her, 
she  lingered  in  a  purple  twilight  of  grief  until  merciful 
death  claimed  her;  the  death  she  prayed  for.  "Ah, 
my  dear  friend,"  she  wrote,  "you  will  rejoice  when 
you  know  that  I  have  gone  to  my  husband  and 
children." 

The  end  of  her  suffering  came  July  16,  1882.  Her 
friends  paid  her  silent  tribute  in  the  same  room  which 
had  witnessed  her  light-hearted  gayety  and  her  mar- 
riage to  the  man  of  her  choice,  by  whose  side  they 
reverently  laid  her.  And  could  she  have  been  con- 
scious, with  her  slow,  irradiating  smile  she  would  have 
said,  "At  last  I  am  content — happy." 

THE  END 


INDEX 


Abolitionists,    129,    131 

Alabama,  secession,   157 

Alexander,  Appeline,   188 

Anderson,  Robert,   61,   157 

Anti-Slavery  Society,  Massachu- 
setts,  133 

Astor,  Vincent,  relationship  to 
Todds,  8 

Averill,    General,    210 

Badeau,  General,  on  Mrs.  Lincoln, 
272 

Baden,  Germany,  Mary  Lincoln  in, 
283,  284 

Baker,  Col.  E.  D.,  death,   191 

Baker,  Julia  Edwards,  (daughter  of 
Elizabeth  Todd  Edwards),  125, 
162 

Banks,  Gov.  N.  P.,   134 

Barney,  Hon.  Hiram,  Lincoln's  tele- 
gram to,  204 

Barnum's    Hotel,   Baltimore,    270 

Barton,  Dr,  Wm.  E.,  79  note 

Batavia  sanitarium,  298 

Bates,  Mrs.,  on  Mary  Lincoln,   195 

Battles    {see  Civil  War) 

Beauregard,    Gen.    Pierre,    173,    201 

Beck,  Widow,   96 

Bee,  39 

Black    Hawk   War,    61,    63 

Blaine,  James  G.,  196 

Blair,  Frank  P.,  188 

Blair,   Montgomery,   188 

Bodley,   Miss    {see  Owsley,  Mrs.) 

Bohemia,  Mary  Lincoln's  travels  in, 
283,  284 

Boone,  Daniel,  13 

Boonville,   Mo.,   79 

Booth,  Edwin,  service  to  Robert 
Lincoln,  251-252 

Booth,  Wilkes,  assassination  of  Lin- 
coln, 258 
Ford's  jest,  254 
threatening  of  Lincoln,  243 

Bragg,   Gen.  Braxton,  220 

Breckinridge,  John  C,  188,   189,  229 

Brooks,  Noah,  on  the  Lincolns'  visit 
to  the  Army,  209-210 


Brown,  Gov.  Gratz,  188 

Brown,     James      (brother     of     Mrs. 
Alexander  Humphreys),  34 

Brown,  John  (brother  of  Mrs.  Alex- 
ander Humphreys),  34 

Brown,  Rev.   John   H.    (husband   of 
Elizabeth  Todd  Grimsley),  59 

Brown,    Preston     (brother    of    Mrs. 
Alexander  Humphreys),  34 

Brown,  Dr.  Samuel  (brother  of  Mrs. 
Alexander  Humphreys),  34 

Buchanan,  James,   137 

at  Lincoln's  inauguration,   168-169 
futility  in   avoiding  secession,   158 

Buckner,  Simon  Bolivar,  187 

Buena  Vista,  Ky.,   102,  203 

Buffalo,   reception  to  Lincoln,    165 

Campaign  of  i860,   151-152 
Campbell,    Ann    Todd     (cousin     of 

Mary  Lincoln),  78,  79 
Campbell,  Quint,  79 
Canada,  123 
Carpenter,    Frank,    artist,   218 

on  the  Lincolns,   195,  236-237 
Carr,  Charles,   32 
Chambrun,  Marquis  de,  247 
Chandler,  Mrs.  Zack,  244 
Chaney,  Aunt    (slave),   22,  47,   103 
Chase,  Salmon  P.,  143,  147,  151,  176 
Chicago,   Republican    convention    in, 
146-147 

the  Lincolns'  visit  to,  153 
Cholera  epidemic,  49  et  seq. 
Christmas,    Civil   War,   207-208 

in  the  Todd  home,  22 
Chronicle,  204 
Cincinnati,  reception  to  the  Lincolns 

in,   163-164 
City  Point,  252 

the  Lincolns'   visit  to,   246   et  seq. 
Civil  War,  Ball's  Bluff,   191 

Baton  Rouge,   15,  213 

Bull  Run,  179 

Chattanooga,  216 

Christmas,    207-208 

Fort  Sumter  attacked,   157,  173 

Petersburg,    249 


301 


302 


INDEX 


Civil   War—  {Continued) 
Shiloh,   15 
Vicksburg,   15,  207 
Washington    during,    190-191 
Clay,  Brutus,  J.,  241 
Clay,  Cassius  M.,  151,  241 

Home  Battalion,  174 
Clay,    Henry,    104,   127 

and  Mary  Todd,  1  et  seq.,  41,  43 
Clay,  Mrs.  Henry,  2 
Clay,  Mary  B.   (daughter  of  Cassius 
M.  Clay),  on  the  Lincolns,  241 
et  seq. 
Clay,   Mary  Jane  Warfield,    30 
Clay,    Sallie     (daughter    of    Cassius 

M.  Clay),  242,  243 
Cleveland,  reception  to  Lincolns,  165 
Columbia,    Mo.,    71,    78-79 
Columbus,  Ohio,  the  Lincolns'  recep- 
tion, 164 
Congress,     appropriation     to     Mary 

Lincoln,  268 
Constitution,  slavery  stand,  135,  136, 

142 
Cooper    Institute,    Lincoln's    speech, 

145 
Courier- Journal,  Louisville,    52,    199 
Cowper,  William,  Lincoln's  reading 

of,  101 
Crab     Orchard     Springs,     Ky.,     the 

Todds'  visit  to,  54 
Crittenden,  John  J.,   175 
Crittenden,  Mrs.  John  J.,  175 
Crittenden  Compromises,  175 

Davis,  Judge  David,  60-61,  216 

Davis,  Jefferson,   61,   182 

Dawson,    Elodie    Todd     (sister    of 

Mary  Lincoln),  15,  122,  157 
Dawson,  Col.  N.  H.  R.,  157,  193 
Decatur,    111.,    State    convention    in, 

146 
Declaration  of  Independence,  138 
Democratic  party,  41,   60,   67 

Whigs    unite   with,    131 
Douglas,  Stephen  A.,  88,  131,  139 
candidate     for    the     Senate,     139 

et  seq. 
courtesy,   170 
courtship    of    Mary    Lincoln,     81 

et  seq. 
death,  179 


Douglas,    Stephen    A. — {Continued) 

ostentations,   141 

slavery  stand,   142 

{see     also     Lincoln-Douglas     de- 
bates) 
Douglas,   Mrs.   Stephen  A.,    175 
Douglass,  Fred,  194 
Dred    Scott   case,    137-138 
Dresser,     Mr.,     Episcopal     minister, 
93 

Edwards,  Miss    (daughter  of  Eliza- 
beth Todd  Edwards),  162 
Edwards,  Elizabeth  Todd    (sister  of 
Mary  Lincoln),    15,    30,    58,    94, 
97,  162,  188,  241,  298 
festivity  in  home  of,  84-85 
marriage,   17 
Mary  Lincoln's  last  years  in  home 

of,  299 
Mary  Lincoln's  visit  to,  72  et  seq. 
religion,    116-117 
Edwards,  Gov.  Ninian,  17 
Edwards,    Ninian    Wirt,    17 

at  the  Lincolns'  marriage,  94 
Edwards,  Old   (doorkeeper  of  White 

House),  171 
Elizabethtown,  Ky.,   127 
Ellsworth,   Colonel,   death,   178 
Eugenie,  Empress,  message  of  sym- 
pathy, 262 
Europe,    Mary    Lincoln's    desire    to 

visit,  123 
Evening  Star,  Washington,  254 

Fillmore,    Millard,    Mary    Lincoln's 
opinion  of,   124-125 

Florence,  Mary  Lincoln  in,  279 

Florida,    secession,    157 

Ford,    Harry   Chapman,    account   of 
father's  jest,  254 

Ford's  Theater,  242,  253-254 

Lincoln's      assassination,     257     et 
seq. 

Fort   Sumter,   bombarded,    173,    178 

France,    Mary   Lincoln's    travels    in, 
298 

Francis,  Mrs.  Simeon,  92,  93 

Frankfurt,     Germany,     Mary     Lin- 
coln's travels  in,  279,  285 

Free    Soilers,    131 

Fremont,    John    C,    134 


INDEX 


303 


Garrison,   William   Lloyd,    133 
Geneva,     Switzerland,     Mary    Lin- 
coln's travels,  279 
Georgia,  secession,   157 
Germany,    Mary    Lincoln's    travels, 

298 
Giddings,  Joshua  R.,  132,  134 
Giron,  Monsieur,  confectionery  shop, 

43-44 
Globe   Tavern,   the   Lincolns'    home 

in,  96  et  seq. 
Grand   inaugural   ball,   171 
Grant,   Ulysses   S.,  201,  238,  247   et 

seq.,  254 
Greeley,    Horace,    133 
Green,  T.  M.,  15 
Grimsley,    Elizabeth    Todd     (cousin 

of   Mary  Lincoln),   59,   94,    162, 

169 
on  White  House  disputes,  189 
White  House  visit,  180 

Hamlin,  Hannibal,  153,  244 

election  as  Vice  President,  169 
Hardin,   Ben,    127 
Hardin,  John  J.,  letter  to  Scott,   67 

et  seq. 
Harlan,  Senator  James,  244,  246 
impressions    of    the    Lincolns,    166 

et  seq. 
letter   to   Robert   Lincoln,   291-292 
on   his    last    drive    with   the    Lin- 
colns,   252-253 
the  Lincolns'  friendship  for,  252 
Harlan,    Mary    {see   Lincoln,    Mary 

Harlan) 
Harper's  Magazine,    173 
Harris,  Miss,  at  Lincoln's  assassina- 
tion, 256  et  seq. 
Harris,   Senator,   189 

at  the  White  House,  228  et  seq. 
Harrison,   William   Henry,   77 
Hay,   John,   242,  243 
Heidelberg,     Germany,    Mary    Lin- 
coln's travels,  283,  284 
Helm,  Ben  Hardin,  193,  201 
death,   216,   219 
Lincoln's    offer    of    paymaster    in 

Army,   183   et  seq 
love  for  the  Lincolns,    127,    188 
visit  to  Lincolns,  126  et  seq. 
Helm,  Emilie  Todd   (sister  of  Mary 
Lincoln),  15,  22,  90,  186,  219 


Helm,  Emilie  Todd — {Continued) 
insulted    by   General   Harris,   229, 

230 
letters    from    Mary    Lincoln,    120 

et  seq, 
meeting    with    Robert    Lincoln    at 

Richmond,   250 
on  life  at  the  White  House  during 

war,  221  et  seq. 
on  Mary  Lincoln's  second  visit  to 

Kentucky,  102  et  seq. 
on  the  Lincolns'  first  visit  to  Lex- 
ington, 99   et  seq. 
visits    to    the    Lincolns,    106,    220 
et  seq. 
Helm,  Gov.  John  L.,  186 

sorrow  at  death  of  son,  219 
Henry,  Patrick,   13 
Herald,  Lexington,  241 
Herald,   New   York,    158 
Herndon,    Mary    Lincoln's    distrust 

of,  114 
Herr,    Katherine    Todd     (sister    of 

Mary  Lincoln),  15,  122 
Historic   Families    of   Kentucky,    T. 

M.  Green,  15 
History,  Rankin,   150 
Hodgenville,     Ky.,     Lincoln's     birth 

near,  127 
Home   Journal,   tribute   to   "Willie" 

Lincoln,  197 
Hugo,  Victor,  Mary  Lincoln's  inter- 
est in  defense  of  son,  118 
Humphreys,   Mrs.  Alexander,   Mary 
Lincoln's  attachment  to,  34-35 
will,  35  et  seq. 
Humphreys,    Elizabeth    {see    Norris, 

Elizabeth  Humphreys) 
Humphreys,     Elizabeth    {see    Todd, 

Elizabeth  Humphreys) 
Humphreys,  James,   157 
Humphreys,  Joseph,  101-102 

Illinois,  lure  of,  58  et  seq. 

politics    in,    67 
Indianapolis,    162 

the  Lincolns'   reception  in,   163 
Indians,  tales   of,    32-33 
Italy,  Mary  Lincoln's  travels,  298 

Jackson,   Andrew,    104 
in  Lexington,  41  et  seq* 
Mary  Lincoln's  hatred  of,  41,  43 


304 


INDEX 


James  River,  249 

Jefferson,   Thomas,    13 

Johnson,    Andrew,    inauguration    as 

Vice  President,  244 
Johnston,  Albert  Sidney,  62 
Judd,   Norman  B.,   146 
Judy    (slave),   23 

Keckley,    Lizzie     (seamstress),    265, 

266 
Keene,  Laura,  254 

at    Lincoln's    assassination,    258 
Kellogg,    Margaret  Todd    (sister  of 
Mary    Lincoln),     15,     125,     156, 
180,  183 
Kellogg,   Minor,   183 
Kentucky,   county  divisions,    13 
the  Lincolns'   love  for,   160,   164 
war   sentiments,    186 

Lalauries,    the    slave    cruelty    inci- 
dent, 38-39 
Lee,    Robert    E.,     resignation    from 
United  States  Army,  185 

uniform  incident,    182 
Lexington,   Ky.,    1 

Giron's    shop,    43-44 

Jackson  in,  41  et  seq. 

leading  city  of  fashion,    18 

Mentelle    Park,    44 

the  Lincolns'  visits  to,  99   et  seq., 
102  et  seq. 

Todd   home  in,   17   et  seq. 
Liberator,   Boston,    132 
Lincoln,    Abraham,    appearance,    73- 
74,  100,  166,  253  ^ 

a  presidential  nominee,  145  et  seq. 

assassination,    257    et   seq. 

assassination  threats,   160-161,  206 

at  City  Point,  246  et  seq. 

called    "Great    Emancipator,"    193 

called   "the   Abolitionist,"    193 

character,   96 

children    {see  separate  names) 

Cooper    Institute    speech,    145 

courtship,  80  et  seq. 

departure     for    Washington,     161 
et  seq. 

desire  to  save   Union,   137 

destiny  shaped,   61 

early   married    life,   96   et   seq. 

early  opinions,   62-63 

Emilie    Helm    and,   221 


Lincoln,    Abraham — {Continued) 
encouragement  of  Mary's   love  of 

dress,   177 
false   wedding   report,    90 
falsity  of  unhappiness  tales,   113 
fatalism,  241,  243 
first  election,   153 
first   inaugural    address,    170 
first   inauguration,    168   et   seq. 
fondness  for  theater,   119 
friendship     for     Helm,     127,     183 

et  seq. 
friends  in  the  Black  Hawk  War, 

61 
growing    popularity,    139 
health,  115 

home  life,   109  et  seq.,  115  et  seq. 
in    Columbia,    79 
in   Congress,    131 
intellect,    64 

John  T.  Stuart  and,  60  et  seq. 
last  drive,  254-255 
letters  to  Speed,  91-92 
love   for   Mary,    225,    238-239 
marriage,   94-95 

meeting  with   Mary,   74  et  seq. 
modesty,     143-144 
nomination,   148   et  seq. 
on    disunion,    138-139 
physical   strength,   64 
Presidential  campaign,  151  et  seq. 
Presidential  candidacy,  143  et  seq. 
quarrel  with  Mary,  88   et  seq. 
reading,   101 

reconciliation   with   Mary,    93 
religion,    117 
renomination,  239 
respect  for  Mary,   108 
secession   ferment,    158    et   seq. 
second    inaugural    address,    245 
second    inauguration,    244-245 
Senate   candidacy,    139   et   seq. 
slavery   opinions,    141 
soldiers'   jests   and,   211 
sorrow  at  death  of  Helm,  216-217 
speech    in    Cincinnati,    164 
tales  of,  63  et  seq. 
telegrams,  213  et  seq.,  234  et  seq., 

239,   240,   241,   247   et  seq. 
the    Todds'    attitude    toward,    84 

et  seq. 
travels  in  east,  122-123 
unconventionality,  80 
war   sorrows,   233,   237 


INDEX 


305 


Lincoln,    Abraham — (Continued) 
wretchedness  over  broken  engage- 
ment, 89  et  seq. 
Lincoln,  Edward  Baker,  birth,  99 

death,    117, 
Lincoln,  Mary  Harlan,  246-247 
marriage,    274 
Mary  Lincoln's    letters  to,   277    et 

seq.,   286-287,   289-290 
Robert  Lincoln's  letters  to,  267 
Lincoln,  Mary  Todd,  accidents,  211- 

212,  299 
acting  ability,  45 
affection    for    Mary    Harlan,    275, 

281 
a  graceful  dancer,  53 
ancestry,  6  et  seq. 
and  Old  King  Solomon,  48  et  seq. 
an   excellent   reader,    119 
an   incorrigible   flirt,   84 
appearance,   46,    52,   73,    100,    156, 

166,  175-176 
at     Lincoln's     assassination,     257 

et  seq. 
at  Long  Branch  and  Saratoga,  190 
at  the  Mentelle  school,  44  et  seq. 
attitude  toward  secession,  157,  160 
bravery,   226-227 
broken-hearted  at  Lincoln's  death, 

269 
called   a  "tomboy,"  31 
care  of  Lincoln,   109 
character,  55,  271 
childhood,   1  et  seq.,  19  et  seq. 
childhood    home,     16    et    seq.,    22 

et  seq. 
children    {see    individual    names) 
collapse,  260  et  seq. 
courtship,   80  et  seq. 
curiosity   about  Lincoln,   66 
death,  299 
departure     for     Washington,     161 

et  seq. 
difficulties   in  Washington   society, 

172-173 
difficulty  of  war  position,  174-175, 

193,   200,   217-218 
early  opinion  of  Lincoln,  75-76 
education,    21 
election  of  Lincoln,  153 
Emilie   Helm's  visit  to,    106 
falsely      suspected      during     war, 

208-209 
false    wedding   report,    90 


Lincoln,   Mary  Todd — (Continued) 
falsity  of  unhappiness  stories,  113 
family,  11,  15,  200  et  seq. 
family  traditions,   85-86 
fatalism,   241 
fear   of   thunder,    120 
fears    for    Lincoln,    160-161,    165, 

206-207 
fears  for  Robert,   227 
first  visit  to  Springfield,  58  et  seq. 
fluency  in  French,  45-46,   53,   118 
friends,  30-31,  195 
generosity,    223-224 
grief   at  Tad's   death,  295 
grief  at  Willie's  death,  198 
grief  for  death  of  Alexander,  212- 

213 
home    life    with    Lincoln,    96,    98, 

109  et  seq.,   115  et  seq. 
hoop  skirt  incident,  26  et  seq. 
horseback   riding,    57 
humiliations,  229  et  seq.,  266,  270 
illness,   213-214 
indebtedness,   265-266 
influence  on  Lincoln,  107,   140 
in   mourning,   271-272 
last  drive  with  Lincoln,  254-255 
letter  on  death  of,  204-205 
letters  to   Mrs.  Orme,  275  et  seq* 
letters  to  Mrs.   Shipman,  284-285 
Lincoln's  indebtedness  settled,  264 
love  for  Lincoln,  169,  179,  238-239 
love  for  Tad,  274,  276,  281 
love  of  dress,  177 
love  of  flowers,   18,   19 
love  of  poetry,  32 
love  of  the  theater,   119 
Mammy   and,   24   et   seq. 
maternal  genealogy,  11 
meeting  with  Lincoln,  74  et  seq. 
mentality,   21,    189 
mental   trouble,   265,   266   et   seq., 

295 
newspaper  account  of,  205-206 
politics,    41,    124-125 
post-presidency  plans,   246 
premonition     of    Lincoln's     death, 

161 
pride,   243-244 

quarrel  with  Lincoln,  88  et  seq. 
reading,   108 
reason    restored,    298 
reconciliation  with  Lincoln,  93 
religious  faith,  33,   111,  116 


3o6 


INDEX 


Lincoln,  Mary  Todd — (Continued) 
remarkable  intuition,  107,  114 
respect  for  intellect,  64 
return  to  America,  290 
slavery  attitude,    140-141,   194 
social  leadership,  171  et  seq. 
sorrow  at  Sam's  death,  203 
Springfield    reception,    155-156 
stepmother    and,    17-18 
stipulations  for  a  husband,  119 
telegrams,  214,  215,  234,  235,  239 
travels,  122-123,  *53"i54>  277,  279, 

283-284,  287,  298 
visit  to  Columbia,  78-79 
visit  to  Henry  Clay,  2  et  seq. 
war  activities,  204  et  seq.,  238 
war  losses,  193,  221   et  seq. 

Lincoln,    Mary   Todd    (daughter   of 
Robert  Lincoln),  275 

Lincoln,  Robert  Todd,  103,  180,  212, 
229,  240,  241 
a  member  of  Grant's  staff,  247 
appearance,    167 

at  his  father's  death,  259  et  seq. 
birth,  98 

early  training,  108 
escort  to  Mrs.  Helm,  250 
Harlan's  letter  to,  291-292 
letter  from  Mrs.  Orne,  297-298 
letters  to  Mrs.  Helm,  251-252 
letters  to  his  mother,  154-155 
marriage,  274 

on  his  mother's  bravery,  250 
on   his   mother's   mental   infirmity, 

267,  295-296 
on  Tad's  death,  293  et  seq. 
plea  to  join  Army,  227 

Lincoln,     Thomas     (Abraham    Lin- 
coln's father),  127 

Lincoln,   Thomas    (Tad),    168,   209, 
238 
birth,  115 
death,  293 
disposition,  180,  208 
education,  277,  278,  281,  283,  286- 

287,  288 
grief  at  father's  death,  260 
illnesses,  190,  290  et  seq. 
in  an  English  school,  279 
Mary's  love  for,  274,  276,  281 
return  to  America,  290 
visit  to  the  Army  of  the  Potomac, 
209,  210 


Lincoln,  William    (Willie),  221 

appearance,    167-168,    180 

character,   197-198 

death,  197 

illness,  196-197 

verses  on  death  of  E.  D.  Baker, 
191-192 
Lincoln-Douglas  debates,  139  et  seq, 

Freeport  debate,  142 
Logan,  Stephen  T.,  146,  150,  188 

on  Lincoln,  64  et  seq. 
London,  Mary  Lincoln  in,  273 
Long  Branch,   N.  J.,  Mary  Lincoln 

at,  190 
Louisiana,  secession,  157 
Louis    Philippe    D'Orleans,    message 
of  sympathy,  262-263 

McManus,    Edward,    telegrams    to, 

235 

Mammy   Sally    (slave),    23    et  seq., 
47,  48,  103,  203 
assistance  to  runaway  slaves,  40 
story  of  Satan,  24  et  seq. 

Marshall,  Thomas,   13 

Mary  Jane    (slave),  46,  47 

Meade,   Larkin    (sculptor),   280 

Mentelle  boarding  school,  44  et  seq., 
119 

Metropolitan  Hotel,  New  York,  Mrs. 
Lincoln  in,  165 

Mississippi,  secession,  157 

Missouri  Compromise,  repealed,  131 
termed  unconstitutional,  137-138 

Missouri  Democrat,  155-156 

Missouri  River,  79 

Monroe,  Thomas,  187 

Montgomery,  Ala.,  General  Confed- 
erate convention,  157 

Motley,  John  Lothrop,  196 

National  Republican,  191 
Negroes,   opportunities  for,   194 
(see  also  Slaves  and  Slavery) 
Nelson,  Judge,  245 
Nelson    (slave),  23 
New  York,  Mary  Lincoln  in,  123 
Nice,  Italy,  Mary  Lincoln  in,  280 
Nicolay,    John    G.,    a    guest  of   the 

Lincolns,  242,  243 
Niles  Register,  101 


INDEX 


307 


Norris,  Elizabeth  Humphreys,  child- 
hood at  the  Todds',  19  et  seq. 

hoop  skirt  incident,  26  et  seq. 

on  slavery,  39  et  seq. 

visit  to  grandmother,    34-35 
Norris,  Judge,  19 
North,   hatred   against   South,   132 

slavery  stand,  135 

war  with  South   {see  Civil  War) 
North,  Roger,  78 

Nuremberg,    Germany,    Mary    Lin- 
coln's travels,  283 

Obennsel,  Germany,  Tad  Lincoln  at 
school  in,  283 

Odernwold    Mountains,    Mary   Lin- 
coln's travels,  283 

Oglesby,   Richard,   255 
on  last  interview  with  Lincoln,  256 

Ord,  General,  250 

Orne,  Congressman,  Mary  Lincoln's 
letter   to,    264 

Orne,   Mrs.,   Mary  Lincoln's  letters 
to,  275  et  seq.,  285 
on   Mary  Lincoln's   insanity,   297- 

298 
Robert  Lincoln's  letters  to,  295-296 

Owens,     Mary      (Lincoln's     former 
sweetheart),  87 

Owsley,  Mrs.,  31,  119 

Palmetto  Flag,  157 

Patti,  Adelina,  at  the  White  House, 

198-199 
on  the  Lincolns,  199-200 
Penrose,  Captain,  248 
Perry,  Leslie,  on  Mary  Lincoln,  173 
Personal    Recollections    of    Lincoln, 

Rankin,  118 
Phillips,  Wendell,   133,   135 
Pittsburgh,    the    Lincolns'    reception, 

164-165 
Polk,  James  K.,  quarrel  concerning, 

104-105 
Potomac,  Army  of  the,  the  Lincolns' 

visits  to,  209  et  seq.,  246  et  seq. 
Preston,  Col.  John,  30 
Preston,  Margaret  Wickliffe,  30 

Lincoln's  wire  to,  213-214 
Preston,    Mary  Wickliffe,    30 
Preston,   Gen.  William,  30 

Rankin,  on  Lincoln,  118,  150 


Rathbone,  Major,  at  Lincoln's  assas- 
sination, 256  et  seq, 
insanity,   268 
Reading  the  Emancipation  Proclama- 
tion, Frank  G.  Carpenter,  195 
Reconstruction  problems,  238 
Reed,  J.  A.,  letter  to,   117 
Republican  party,  formation,  131 
nomination  of  Lincoln,  146  et  seq. 
platform  unconstitutional,   138 
Rocheport,  Mo.,  political  convention 
at,  78-79 

Sanders,  Jane   (slave),  22 
Saratoga  Springs,  N.  Y.,  Mary  Lin- 
coln at,  190 
Scott,  Robert  W.,  Hardin's  letter  to, 

67,  et  seq. 
Scott,  Sir  Walter,  Mary's  reading  of, 

108 
Scott,  Gen.  Winfield,  62,  169,  179 
Secession,   Kentucky's    attitude,    160 
Lincoln's  attitude  toward,  158-159 
state   beliefs  in   right  of,   156 
Seward,  William  H.,  143,   146,  238 
Seymour,    Horatio,    on    slavery,    135 

et  seq. 
Shearer,  Mrs.,  190 
Shelby,     Fanny     Todd      (cousin     of 

Mary  Lincoln),  59 
Shelby,    Isaac,    59 
Shelby,  Thomas,   59 
Sherman,    Gen.   William   Tecumseh, 

201 
Shipman,    Mrs.,    letters    from    Mary 

Lincoln,  284-285,  287  et  seq. 
meeting   with    Mary   Lincoln,   269 

et  seq. 
Shipman,    Paul,    on    Mrs.    Lincoln, 

272  et  seq. 
Sickles,  Gen.  Daniel  E.,  222 
at  the  White  House,  228  et  seq. 
on  the  Lincolns,   195-196 
Simpson,   Mrs.,   with    Mary  Lincoln 

in  Florence,  279 
Singleton,  General,  250 
Slavery,  Constitution  on,  135 
Helm's  opinion  of,   128  et  seq. 
the  Lincolns'  opinions  of,  124,  128 

et  seq. 
Slaves,  Mrs.  Alexander  Humphreys' 

disposal  of,  35  et  seq. 
runaway,  40 


308 


INDEX 


Slaves — (Continued) 

sentiment      against      cruelty,      38 
et  seq. 
Smith,   Ann   Todd    (sister   of   Mary 
Lincoln),  15,  156 
visit  to  the  Lincolns,   106 
Smith,  C.  M.,  106 
trip  to  New  York  with  Mary  Lin- 
coln, 153 
Smith,  Caleb,  seconding  of  Lincoln's 

nomination,  146 
Soldiers'   Home,  the  Lincolns'   vaca- 
tion at,  211 
Solomon,     Old     King      (slave),     48 

et  seq.,  194 
South,   animosity  toward   Mary  Lin- 
coln, 172 
Civil  War   (see  separate  item) 
hatred  of  North,  132 
idea  of  Lincoln,   172-173 
jubilant  over  Dred   Scott  decision, 

138 
secession    (see  separate  item) 
slavery  stand,  135 
South  Carolina,  secession,  157 
Confederate    allegiance    of    South 

to,  174 
formation,   158 
Southern  Literary  Messenger,  118 
Spaulding,   Rufus,    134 
Speed,   Joshua  F.,   betrayal   of  Lin- 
coln's trust,  91 
Spencer,    Dr.,    Stoddard's    letter    to, 

209 
Springfield,  111.,  capital  removed  to, 
67 
Mary  Lincoln's  last  years  in,  299 
Mary  Lincoln's  visits  to,  58  et  seq., 

71  et  seq. 
memories  of,  245-246 
nomination  of  Lincoln,   145 
the  Lincolns'  first  home  in,  98 
the   Lincolns'    reception,    155-156 
Stanton,  Edwin  M.,  247,  248 
State,  Richmond,   Va.,  201 
Stephens,  Alexander  H.,   159 
Stoddard,  W.  O.,  on  Mary  Lincoln, 

173,  209 
Stuart,   Eliza,  Mary  Lincoln's   letter 

to,  290 
Stuart,  John  Todd,  31,  97,  188,  230 
at  the  White  House,  228 
influence  on  Lincoln,  60  et  seq. 


Stuart,  John  Todd—  (Continued) 
law     partnership      with     Lincoln, 

61,   62 
letter  to  J.  A.  Reed,   117-118 
Lincoln's   letter  to}   89 
Stuart,     Margaret     (see     Woodrow, 

Margaret  Stuart) 
Stuart,  Robert,  31 

Sumner,    Senator    Charles,    151,   238, 
245,  247 
service  to  Mrs.  Lincoln,  268 
the  Lincolns  and,  189-190 
Supreme  Court,   decision  on  legality 

of  slavery,   137-138 
Swansey,  J.  B.,  on  secession,  133 

Taney,   Chief   Justice,    169 
Dred    Scott  case,    137-138 

Taylor,  Zachary,  61 

Thanatopsis,  Bryant,  memorized  by 
Lincoln,  101 

Todd,  Alexander  (brother  of  Mary 
Lincoln),  15,  103,  193,  201,  212- 
213 

Todd,  Ann   (see  Smith,  Ann  Todd) 

Todd,  Ann  E.  (see  Campbell,  Ann 
Todd) 

Todd,  Dr.  Beecher  (cousin  of  Mary 
Lincoln),  259 

Todd,  David   (brother  of  Mary  Lin- 
coln), 15,  193,  201 
death,  207 

Todd,    David    (uncle   of   Mary  Lin- 
coln), 78-79 
tales  of,  79-80 

Todd,  Eliza  Ann  Parker  (mother 
of  Mary  Lincoln),  11,  15 

Todd,  Elizabeth  (see  Edwards, 
Elizabeth  Todd) 

Todd,  Elizabeth  (see  Grimsley, 
Elizabeth  Todd) 

Todd,  Elizabeth  Humphreys  (step- 
mother of  Mary  Lincoln),  17,  55 

Todd,  Elodie  (see  Dawson,  Elodie 
Todd) 

Todd,  Emilie  (see  Helm,  Emilie 
Todd) 

Todd,  Fanny  (see  Shelby,  Fanny 
Todd) 

Todd,  Francis  (see  Wallace,  Francis 
Todd) 

Todd,  Dr.  George  (brother  of  Mary 
Lincoln),  15,  193,  201 


Todd,  Dr.  John  (uncle  of  Mary  Lin- 
coln), 59,  79,  94 
Todd,    Katherine    {see   Herr,   Kath- 

erine  Todd) 
Todd,   Levi    (brother  of  Mary  Lin- 
coln), 15,  200 
Todd,      Margaret       {see      Kellogg, 

Margaret  Todd) 
Todd,   Martha    {see  White,   Martha 

Todd) 
Todd,    Mary     {see    Lincoln,    Mary 

Todd) 
Todd,    Robert    Parker     (brother    of 

Mary  Lincoln),   15 
Todd,  Robert  Smith,   Sr.    (father  of 
Mary  Lincoln),   10,  59 
children,    15 
death,  102 
marriages,  15 
public   service,    14 
visits   to  daughters,  97-98 
Todd,    Robert    Smith,    Jr.     (brother 

of  Mary  Lincoln),  15 
Todd,     Samuel     (brother    of    Mary 
Lincoln),  4,  15,  100,  101,  193  * 
death,   201-202 
Todd,  Samuel    (uncle  of  Mary  Lin- 
coln), 78 
Todd    family,    ancestry,    6 
in   Indian  war,   13 
intermarriages,    12 
Revolutionary  service,   13 
Transylvania   University,   12,    18,   31 
Tremont  House,  reception  at,   153 
Tribune,  New  York,   133 
Trumbull,  Lyman,  elected  to  Senate, 

107 
Tuck,  Amos,  trip  to  New  York  with 
Mary  Lincoln,   153 


INDEX  309 

Vandalia,  111.,  capital  removed  from, 
67 

Venice,  Italy,  Mary  Lincoln's  travels, 
279 

Victoria,  Queen,  message  of  sym- 
pathy, 261-262 


an     issue,     132 


Union,     dissolution 
et  seq. 

Lincoln's   efforts  to   save,    137 
North's  support  of,  174 
secession    {see  separate  item) 
Union   Convention,   renomination  of 
Lincoln,  239 


Wallace,    Francis    Todd     (sister    of 
Mary  Lincoln),    15,    54,    58,    93, 
125,  156 
on  the  Lincolns'   unhappiness,   113 
Wallace,  Dr.  William,  93,   115 
Ward,   Mr.    (educator),  21 
Warfield,     Mary    Jane     {see    Clay, 

Mary  Jane  Warfield) 
Washington,     D.     C,     inauguration 
day,  168 
Lincoln's    arrival,    165 
war-time,   190 
Whig  party,  41,   60,   67 

expiration,  131 
White,    Clement,    157,    193 
White,     Martha     Todd      (sister     of 
Mary  Lincoln),   15,   157 
contraband  incident,   180  et  seq. 
White  House,  dinginess,   171 
guests   in,    188 
hospitality,    180 
presents   of  wine,  203 
the    Lincolns'    departure,    264-265 
war  cheerfulness   in,    196 
Wickliffe,    Margaret     {see    Preston, 

Margaret  Wickliffe) 
Wickliffe,  Mary  {see  Preston,  Mary 

Wickliffe) 
Willard's     Hotel,    the    Lincolns     in, 

165,  168 
Willis,   Nathaniel  Parker,  on  Willie 

Lincoln,  197-198 
Wilson,   Senator   Henry,  245 
Women  Lincoln  Loved,  The,  William 

E.  Barton,  79  note 
Woodrow,    Margaret    Stuart,    31,   32 
World,  New  York,  272 

Zouaves,  New  York,   178 


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